It was a great privilege to be invited to perform at the 2015 ClarinetFest in Madrid, Spain. I spent a week of July in this beautiful city, meeting some amazing clarinetists and friends, playing great music, and enjoying plenty of sightseeing. My recital featured two American works for clarinet and piano: Leonard Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata and Peter Lieuwen's new work, Bright River (2014), with this performance being the official European Premiere. I was thrilled to be joined by my friend Sasha from London.
I was also delighted that Peter (the composer) flew all the way with his wonderful wife attended our concert with his nephew who happened to be living in Madrid. It was the first time Peter heard Bright River being performed. I am looking forward to see him again during my residency at Texas A&M University in College Station, TN in September where I will perform this work again.
Despite my unfamiliarity with this part of Europe, there was something very elegant yet approachable in this city. A great deal of vibrancy and wonderful foods...
Due to a last-minute absence by a clarinetist in KoMo Clarinet Quartet, I was invited to fill in the spot for their concert at the end of the week. I not only got to play some fun music, but was very fortunate to become good friends with Useon, Geonju and Maxine, all wonderful musicians and people!
Among many other things I got to do in Madrid, the visit to Muso Prado singularly stands out. The museum houses some of the greatest works that are familiar to us. I was more impressed by its unique organization and distinct taste of the Spanish monarchs who curated the selections throughout past many centuries.