Allen Sigel, former principal clarinetist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo, died Friday at his Williamsville home. He was 88.

            Mr. Sigel was born in Chicago and grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, where his father ran a dry goods store. His first clarinet, acquired when he was 11, came from an uncle’s pawnshop, and he became dedicated to his music, practicing up to eight hours daily and leading his mother to say, “Allen will be a famous clarinetist one day.” He received a scholarship to study clarinet at the University of Iowa with Hymie Voxman and earned a master’s degree from Rochester’s Eastman School of Music in 1947.

            Mr. Sigel became principal clarinetist with the BPO in 1948 and remained with the orchestra until 1960, when he accepted a full-time position at the University of Buffalo, where he had been instructing part-time. While teaching, he remained active as a musician and composer, performing on an occasional basis with the BPO until he was in his 70s. A career highlight was playing the “Clarinet Concerto” by Aaron Copland under the direction of the composer when Copland was the Slee professor of music at UB.

            Mr. Sigel also taught hundreds of private music students in the area and wrote seven books, including “The Twentieth Century Clarinetist,” considered a classic resource for aspiring musicians. He served as music director of the Jewish Center of Buffalo and was a founding member of the Clarinetist Society of America.

            Mr. Sigel and his wife, Phyllis, were well-traveled, and at one time they lived in China, where he also taught. The couple wintered in the Sarasota, Fla., area.

            In addition to his wife, Mr. Sigel is survived by a son, Jeffrey; two daughters, Elaine Becker and Linda; and a sister, Norma Schweig.


14 March 2013

Sidney Forrest, Renowned Teacher and Chamber Musician - Professor at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland - In Memoriam

Kensington, Maryland USA

                Born  in 1918 in Brooklyn, New York, Sidney Forrest has spent the bulk of his career in Washington, DC and Baltimore.  As a teenager in Brooklyn,  he sought out Simeon Bellison (principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic) for private lessons and enjoyed being a member of Bellison's Clarinet Ensemble.  He continued his studies at the Juilliard School and maintained his close relationship with his teacher until  Bellison's death in 1953.  After two years at Juilliard,  he went to the recently established school of music at the University of Miami on full scholarship, where he earned his undergraduate degree..  He was principal clarinet there, under the esteemed Russian conductor Arnold Volpe.  He received a master's degree from Columbia University.  Other influential teachers and mentors were Alexander Williams (first clarinet of the NBC Orchestra under Toscanini)  and Otto Conrad (former principal clarinet of the Berlin Philharmonic).


                In 1941, Sidney Forrest came to Washington, DC as a member of the United States Marine Band and Orchestra, frequently appearing as soloist.  In 1946 he became principal clarinet of the National  and joined the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory (Johns Hopkins University) in Baltimore.  He taught at Peabody for 40 years and also served as adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America and American University.  Summers 1959- 2005, he taught at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, teaching hundreds of students and coaching the clarinet section of the World Youth Symphony.  He was "Master Teacher" at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C.  and continued to teach privately at his home in Kensington, Maryland. He has also given master classes throughout the country.