• 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…

  • 21 Clarinet Compositions from the 21st Century

    The clarinet has quite an extensive list of amazing repertoire spanning across a multitude of styles and genres. We have our beloved masterpieces by Mozart, Weber, Brahms, and many more, but what about some more recent repertoire? Over the last few years, I’ve become more and more interested in modern clarinet compositions. Here are a few of my favourites from the 21st century. (By no means is this list meant to be comprehensive, so I suggest doing some research of your own to discover more of these wonderful pieces!) *pieces listed alphabetically by composer’s last name* Samuel Adler – Beyond the Pale (2002) Ofer-Ben Amots – Klezmer Concerto (2006) Nicolas…

  • Clarinet Method Books to Help Develop Diverse Musical Genres and Styles

    It’s no secret by now that I love method books (as witnessed by my slowly increasing number of clarinet boot camps). Can’t get enough of ’em! I have a few favorite method books which are never too far from my music stand, but I do like to spice things up occasionally. I’ve worked through most of the standard books at this point – Baermann, Jettel, Klosé, Rose, Kell, Jeanjean, etc – and I thought it would be nice to explore a more diverse range of genres and styles for a change of musical pace. The clarinet is such a versatile instrument and can play music from a diverse repertoire, including…

  • Clarinet Compositions Written During the 1918 Flu Pandemic

    The last few months have been pretty depressing, to put it lightly. Life seems as if it’s been temporarily put on hold as the world anxiously awaits to see what happens next. Despite what some are saying, music isn’t cancelled and creativity isn’t dead. I know this can be hard to believe since all auditions, concerts, and performances have been postponed, rescheduled, or outright cancelled for the foreseeable future. Despite all of the horrible news constantly bombarding us, it is so inspiring to see how musicians are using technology in new and creative ways. I’ve seen so many artists share resources and tools to help others in these times of…

  • The Clarinet Compositions of Meyer Kupferman

    Meyer Kupferman playing clarinet (image from milkenarchive.org) …the modern clarinetist may well be represented as our new hero or musical superman – our true 20th century ‘challenger’! He is not only our new soloist, our new chamber music leader but in many ways our new entertainer or magician…By now all of us realize the clarinet is capable of an impressive spectrum of sonorities. Composers who understand its dramatic arsenal of dynamics, attacks, its huge range and its exquisite legato – can create a plethora of design suitable for any musical gesture. To well disciplined fingers the clarinet’s fluent Boehm system keyboard lends itself to the most remarkable feats of virtuosity.…

  • The Clarinetist’s Companion to Daphnis et Chloé

    If you’re on the orchestral clarinet audition circuit, chances are you’ve encountered the second orchestral suite from Daphnis et Chloé. This suite is from the one-act ballet (or choreographic symphony, as Ravel himself described it) premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 1912, and it has haunted challenged clarinetists ever since. The original ballet is about an hour long, but Ravel created two orchestral suites which can be performed with our without a chorus. The second suite, our topic of discussion today, is more commonly performed and features the recognizable “Danse générale.” Without further ado, let’s dive into some tips and tricks to help you prepare this challenging excerpt!…

  • Virtual clarinet composition scavenger hunt

    This blog post originally appeared as a digital clarinet studio lecture for the Iowa State University clarinetists. Instead of our usual studio class this week, I thought I would present you with a challenge. There are thousands upon thousands of clarinet compositions in our repertory, yet we inevitably gravitate towards many of the same pieces. This week, I challenge you to dig deep in the depths of the internet to find 10 new-to-you pieces which represent a diverse collection. I’ll leave the definition of diverse to you – perhaps they span different eras (Classical, Romantic, Modern), composer nationality, style, clarinet techniques used in the piece, genre (punk rock clarinet?), or…