Barger’s Amicitia Duo performs Sept. 6
calendar icon23 Aug 2023
Lincoln, Neb.--The Amicitia Duo, which includes Glenn Korff School of Music professor Diane Barger, E-flat and B-flat clarinets, and University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Denise Gainey, B-flat clarinet, along with Professor of Piano Mark Clinton, will perform in a faculty recital on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in Westbrook Recital Hall Rm. 119. The concert is free and open to the public. The concert will also be live webcast. Visit https://music.unl.edu/webcasts the day of the performance for the link.
Barger, who is the Ron and Carol Cope Professor of Clarinet, and Gainey, Distinguished Professor of Clarinet, Instrumental Music Education and Associate Chair of the Department of Music, have been friends for nearly 40 years after meeting at Florida State University as undergrads.
Their program includes four works written specifically for their ensemble—“SPARK” by Jenni Brandon, “Counterparts” by Jaren Hinckley, Alexis Ciesla’s “Études Concertantes” for E-flat and B-flat clarinets and Scott McAllister’s “H-O-L-D-F-A-S-T for E-flat and B-flat clarinets and piano.” The program also includes Gary Shocker’s “Sonata” for 2 clarinets and piano.
“We are so excited to present this concert as it features music that has special meaning to us on so many levels,” Barger said. “The Schocker piece was one of the first works we ever performed as the Amicitia Duo, and the others represent our work these last seven years to develop the repertoire for E-flat clarinet and B-flat clarinet, with or without piano. We now have 11 works that have been written for our ensemble, and we are blessed to share these works by Brandon, Ciesla, Hinckley and McAllister on our program that hold such a special place in our hearts. Making music is always a joy; making music with two of my dearest and cherished friends who have inspired composers to write such meaningful pieces for us? Priceless.”
They premiered the works by Brandon and Hinckley in July when they performed in the International Clarinet Association’s (ICA) annual ClarinetFest® in Denver. Barger is the current President of ICA.
“’SPARK’ for E-flat clarinet, B-flat clarinet and piano tells of the journey of friendship, from a spark of light in the dark to the fire of lifelong friendship and collaboration in an ever-changing world,” Brandon wrote for the program notes.
“Counterparts” for E-flat clarinet, B-flat clarinet and piano also explores the friendship of Barger and Gainey.
“I feel fortunate to have known Diane for over 25 years now. We met on the steps of the theatre building at La Cite Universitaire in Paris, France, waiting for registration to open for ClarinetFest® 1996, and we struck up a conversation,” Hinckley writes in the program notes. “She was warm, pleasant and friendly to me who was, at the time, a complete stranger to her. But we had the commonalit of the clarinet, and, to this day, we reference our first meeting in Paris practically every time we see each other. I met Denise in recent years, mainly through Diane, at various ClarinetFests®. . . . I am inspired by their friendship and am grateful to have my own clarinet BFF and a host of other clarinet BFs throughout the world.”
“’H-O-L-D-F-A-S-T’ is inspired by sailors who would tattoo the letters ‘Hold Fast’ on their knuckles as they gripped the rails before a storm or battle,” McAllister wrote in the program notes. “I was moved by this image and reminded that everyone goes through storms and battles in life. . . . This work was written in 2021 for the Amicitia Duo and dedicated to Diane Barger who has inspired me as she has continued to ‘Hold Fast.’”
It is the second piece composed for the Amicitia Duo by McAllister, who is professor of composition at Baylor University.
French clarinetist and composer Alexis Ciesla transcribed “Études Concertantes” for E-flat and B-flat clarinets in 2017 for the Amicitia Duo. He teaches clarinet at the Municipal Radiation Conservatory of Saint-Priest in Rhône, France.
Shocker’s “Sonata” for 2 clarinets and piano won first prize at the International Clarinet Association composition contest in 1996. Shocker teaches at New York University.
Amicitia is the Latin word for friendship and is pronounced “ah-mee-KEE-tee-ah.” The duo has toured throughout the United State, including Florida, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Iowa. Their debut CD, “Play Pretty,” was released in January 2020 and is available on the Potenza Music label.