• Repertoire Research Checklist for Students

    As much fun as it is to perform well-loved (and well-practiced) pieces, there’s something extra exciting about beginning to work on a new piece of repertoire. New piece, new possibilities, new performances… But as you begin learning a new piece, here are a few questions I encourage my students to research to better understand a new piece of music: Who is the composer? When did the composer live? Was this piece written for a specific clarinetist? Who performed the premiere? Are there recordings available of this piece? What era/genre/style of music is the composer known for? Did the composer write anything else for clarinet? How would you describe the style…

  • 13 Clarinet Works Perfect for Valentine’s Day

    Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, I’m sharing 14 beautiful pieces of music which feature the clarinet. Listen to these to fall even more in love with the clarinet! Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, movement 3. Words can’t express the beauty of this solo, so go have a listen and be prepared to swoon. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, movement 1. Another heart-wrenchingly beautiful display of the clarinet’s ability to tug at our heartstrings! Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, March to the Scaffold. This is a literal love theme, sung by the clarinet right before the guillotine strikes. Tchaikovsky Francesca da Rimini. Tchaikovsky tugs at heartstrings like no other, and he certainly chose the best…

  • Music for clarinet and toy piano

    Longtime readers of Jenny Clarinet know that I have a fascination with lesser-known instruments (this blog post I wrote a few years ago even led to me learning how to play the theremin!). Even though I had heard of the toy piano, it wasn’t until I attended a Yann Tiersen concert in Paris a few years ago and heard Tiersen perform on the toy piano that I began to wonder if any music had ever been written for clarinet and toy piano. Spoiler alert: yes it has! (but as you might imagine, it’s not a long list) Here are some pieces I’ve stumbled upon which feature clarinet and toy piano:…

  • Fun Encore Pieces for Clarinet

    The clarinet is #blessed with a large and varied repertoire of works, from solo pieces to chamber ensemble. There are several more “serious” works (looking at you Brahms) that are great for recitals, but it’s also nice to balance these with shorter and more lighthearted pieces to use as an encore. Here are a few fun encore pieces for clarinet: Guisganderie by Faustin Jeanjean Czardas by Vittorio Monti Flight of the Bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Clarinet on the Town by Ralph Herman Clarinet Candy by Leroy Anderson Carnival of Venice by Alamiro Giampieri Immer Kleiner by Adolf Schreiner Viktor’s Tale by John Williams Étude Caprice by Moritz Moszkowski Il Convegno…

  • What piece should you practice next based on your coffee order?

    It’s no secret by now that I’m a big fan of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. One day recently, I was waiting in line at a café trying to decide what drink I was going to order when I began to assign clarinet repertoire to coffee orders. (You can take the clarinet away from the clarinetist, but you can’t take the clarinetists away from the clarinet.) Here are a few suggestions I came up with for repertoire to practice next based on your coffee order (with a few cheeky comments for each suggestion): Espresso – Nielsen Concerto, Op. 57 – You’ll probably need a few espressos to power through this…

  • 101 Clarinet Compositions Written by Women Composers

    Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate, here are 101 clarinet compositions written by female composers. I know there are many more wonderful works than the ones I’ve included here, so I am planning on making this a multi-part series. Leave a comment below with your favorite piece(s) for me to include on the next part! By the way, if you want to learn more about female clarinet history, here are some other articles I’ve written you might be interested in reading: Famous Female Clarinetists Throughout History 100 Famous Female Clarinetists 100 More Famous Female Clarinetists Clarinet method and étude books written by women Without further ado, here are 101 clarinet compositions…

  • Horror films which feature the clarinet

    If this is your first Jenny Clarinet Halloween, you’re in for a real (trick or) treat! If there’s one thing I love nearly as much as clarinet, it’s Halloween. During October each year, I share the spooky side of the clarinet world, from unusual history, haunted pieces, and even mysteries of the clarinet. First up, you can’t properly celebrate Halloween with some scary movies! Get ready for some horror films with a heavy dose of clarinet! (By the way, I’m always looking for new horror films to watch, so if you know of any clarinet-infused scary movies you’d like me to add to this list, please let me know!) Grab…

  • The musical medium who holds a clue to the missing Mozart clarinet concerto manuscript

    One of clarinet history’s greatest mysteries is the whereabouts of the manuscript to Mozart’s beloved Concerto for Clarinet in A Major, K. 622, written in 1791 for Anton Stadler. We know that Mozart gave his fellow freemason friend Anton Stadler the manuscript of his new concerto on October 10, 1791 (only two days after he finished orchestrating the piece), along with 200 florins for “travel money” before Stadler embarked on what would become a five-year tour of Eastern Europe. (By the way, 200 florins might not sound like much, but it was the equivalent to a quarter of Mozart’s salary as a Viennese court composer.) Stadler began his tour with…

  • Clarinet method and étude books written by women

    This article was inspired by Dr. Victor Chavez, clarinet professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, who is having a Women Composers Festival for his studio this semester. Here is a list of clarinet method and étude books written by women (listed alphabetically by last name). I hope this will be a valuable resource for anyone who is trying to curate a more diverse repertoire collection. This is not meant to be comprehensive, so please let me know of any books I have omitted and I will add this to the list. Note: The following list is just clarinet method and étude books. If you’re looking for solo repertoire, check out my…

  • How dumplings inspired this composer to write a famous clarinet work

    I have to be quite honest…I never would have imagined that dumplings played an important (albeit odd) role in clarinet history. Here’s the story, according to Carl Baermann’s 1882 Erinnerungen eines alten Musikanten (Memories of an Old Musician): In addition to being prominent clarinet virtuosi, German clarinet Heinrich Baermann (for whom Weber wrote his clarinet concerti) and his son Carl Baermann were also apparently skilled in the kitchen. Specifically, they were known for making delicious dumplings and strudel. Heinrich and Carl were also good friends with Felix Mendelssohn, and the three met up in Berlin on December 30, 1832 when the Baermanns were in town for some performances. As it…