Midwest ClariFest proves to be incredible experience

Midwest ClariFest
Midwest ClariFest

Midwest ClariFest proves to be incredible experience

calendar icon06 May 2015    

Dr. Frank Kowalsky was the main attraction at University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 18th annual Midwest ClariFest, hosted by Dr. Diane Barger. On April 18, 2015, sixty-five clarinet students, teachers, and enthusiasts filled the Glenn Korff School of Music’s Kimball Recital Hall stage on the UNL campus to enjoy a day filled with clarinet masterclasses, lectures, and recitals.

Midwest ClariFest opened with an exciting welcome from Dr. Barger performing Bela Kovacs’s Sholem-aleckem, rov Feidman accompanied by her graduate quintet Cinco Diablos.

Dr. Kowalsky taught two masterclasses during the day to high school and college clarinetists from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and even reaching as far south as Tennessee. He provided all in attendance with laughter, tips, and tricks for the ultimate performance of standard clarinet repertoire.

The first lecture of the day consisted of a clarinet maintenance discussion with Kevin Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Music in Lincoln. Palmer informed the attendees on how to take care of the clarinet when dealing with the ever-changing, and often very dry, Nebraska climate.  Palmer’s Music provided a booth with clarinets and clarinet accessories for purchase throughout the day.

“The Clarinet in the Eighteenth Century: A Look at Our Five-keyed Ancestor” was a very intriguing and informative lecture by Joseph Weber. Having many young students in attendance, this was the first time many of them had seen or heard a five-keyed clarinet. It was an enlightening experience with demonstrations and discussions on how to play and the difference in tuning of this clarinet ancestor.

New to Midwest ClariFest was a round table discussion with Dr. Diane Barger (moderator), Dr. Janette Harriot (University of Nebraska-Kearney), Dr. Jesse Krebs (Truman State University, MO) and Cindy Nichols (University of Nebraska-Omaha). During the discussion, these teachers shared their knowledge and insights to questions about clarinet teaching, practicing and staying involved in the clarinet world after finishing college.

The round table discussion and afternoon lectures were topped off by a Potpourri Recital of solo performers: Nicole Jensen (UNL)- Cantilene by Louis Cahuzac; Katie Rice (UNL)- Three Etudes on Themes of Gershwin by Paul Harvey; Lucas Willsie (UNL)- Wings for Bass Clarinet by Joan Tower; and Dr. Jesse Krebs-Theme and Absurdities by Derek Bermel. Clarinet chamber groups also performed: The Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha Clarinet Quartet- French Suite by Yvonne Desportes; Truman State Univ. Clarinet Quartet- Come Out and Play by Dana Wilson; and UNL’s Cinco Diablos Clarinet Quintet, who finished the recital with a quintet arrangement of Zequinha de Abreu’s Tico Tico and Scott McAllister’s Devil Sticks.

Midwest ClariFest concluded with an inspiring Guest Recital by Dr. Kowalsky. He performed Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud; Arabesques by Cahuzac; Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie; Guastavino’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano; and Mendelssohn No. 2 with Diane Barger to bring an end to another successful and educational Midwest ClariFest.

When asked about her feelings on the 2015 Midwest ClariFest, Dr. Barger said, “This year’s event was such an incredible experience, and I count it as the most successful Midwest ClariFest to date. Our guest artist Dr. Frank Kowalsky was such an inspiration, both in his skillful pedagogy he shared throughout the morning and afternoon master class sessions and in his memorable evening recital. His consummate artistry is unsurpassed, and all of us will continue to be inspired for years to come. We also had some truly wonderful performances by students and regional faculty alike in the afternoon potpourri recital, and I was very pleased with the addition of our panel discussion and mini lectures throughout the day.”

Mark your calendars and join Dr. Barger and the UNL clarinet studio next year for Midwest ClariFest 2016 on Saturday, March 12 with Guest Artist Dr. Denise Gainey from the University of Alabama-Birmingham!