2015-16 At a Glance

I was very fortunate to have great teachers who were also phenomenal players. Every one of their performances that I attended or concerts I was lucky enough to play with them were sheer source of inspiration. I came to believe that showing the examples of fine musicianship and what it takes to constantly improve oneself to the students is an immensely important component of teaching. I also came to learn that it is no easy task to maintain a status of performing musician while teaching a full studio (you can read about my 15/16 studio at TTU here). In any case, I am thrilled to announce my 2015-16 season schedule filled with exciting performances, collaborations, and projects.

Just having performed my TTU Faculty Recital last night, I am now preparing for the upcoming three-day residency in College Station, TX. I and Grace will be featured as guest artists at Texas A&M University's Department of Performance Studies. We will present a full 90-minute recital featuring some of our favorite duo repertoires as well as some of recent additions such as Peter Lieuwen's Bright River. It will be a treat to bring this work to Peter's own university. We are also scheduled to give master classes and a lecture.

In October, I will perform Frank Ticheli's Clarinet Concerto, one of my self-imposed challenges for the year, with TTU Wind ensemble. While I am anxious to work up this very difficult piece, I am excited to collaborate with some stellar student musicians in the ensemble and my colleague Joe Hermann. I also cannot wait to play with my friend and amazing pianist Esther Park during her visit to TTU. In Esther's French-themed recital, we will play Debussy's Premiere Rhapsody and Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata.

In January, I will be joined by enhake and its now ever-expanding family members in a three-state tour (Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah). We will serve as Artist-in-Residence at Fort Lewis College, where our violinist Brent is a faculty member. Our recital at the St. Mark's Recital Series will feature some of our favorite, including Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. We are also scheduled to perform at Colorado Mesa University, and the tour will conclude with our appearance at the Chamber Music Society of Logan and the Utah State University.

Logan should be very beautiful and "snowy" during our visit

In February, I will host two friends of mine, violinist Emily Westell and pianist Sasha Karpeyev, for the TTU Center Stage Series. I will join the duo in performance of Brahms Clarinet Sonata No. 1, Milhaud's Suite for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano, and Bartok's Contrasts. I am scheduled to appear as the guest clarinetist for the 2016 University of Northern Iowa Woodwind Day later in March. Few trips to NYC and Florida are also being planned in the spring. Finally, I hope to survive through another TTU Clarinet Day in April. 

While the summer plans are not completely set at this point, I have some great events scheduled during July and August. I will be doing a good deal of teaching and playing in various cities in Korea, including a performance of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time with Mirus Trio (my friend Jayoung's ensemble) at Seoul Arts Center's IBK Chamber Hall. 

Seoul Arts Center's IBK Chamber Music Hall, built only few years ago!

Throughout the year, I am also looking forward to playing as a clarinetist of the Cumberland Quintet with my admirable TTU colleagues as well as the principal clarinet for the Bryan Symphony Orchestra and the Albany Symphony in GA. Which clarinetist can possibly complain when the season schedule include such works as Kodaly's Dances of Galanta, Brahms' Third Symphony, Elgar's Enigma Variations and Sibelius Symphony No. 2!!?

For my complete list of performances during 2015-16 season, please visit my calendar page. 

Thronateeska Concerto for enhake and Albany Symphony Orchestra

enhake's first reading of Steve's Thronateeska Concerto with the Albany Symphony

It was a remarkable experience to premiere a new concerto written for enhake by our friend Steve Landis. The project was initiated many years ago,  and we were both thrilled and grateful to bring it into life despite a multitude of obstacles. The work is in three movements with two cadenzas between each section, although they are played without break. Landis highlights various strengths of enhake's ensemble as well as its individual players. The first movement begins with a stream of high-energy repeated notes, and it posed some challenges for me as a clarinet player. In the end, we found a great tempo that provides a fine balance between flow and ever-changing accents. 


The opening of the solo clarinet part...

The first cadenza leads into the slow movement, and I and Brent (our violinist) are asked to walk off stage then to the upper balcony. The effect was quite stunning, but we had to make sure there was plenty of time for us to move around and climb up/down all those stairs. A great way to work out and get some stretching done!

This is where I have to run out of the stage and climb up to the upper balcony

The antiphonal solo part in the econd movement 

The third movement begins with highly rhythmic motif played in unison and leads to an exciting ending. There are many interesting and creative ideas, and we were pleased to see them work very well. It was a great privilege to be a part of this project among some wonderful friends in the ensemble. We certainly look forward to much more to come!

This section in the third movement asks all players to play as loud and high as possible!

My set-up for the evening!

ASO Cirque de la Symphonie

Albany Symphony Orchestra with Cirque de la Symphonie

This weekend was the second time for me to play with Cirque de la Symphonie, but it was still too exciting not to glance at the amazing acrobats every once in a while during rehearsals and performances, etc. A truly challenging endeavor if you are the musician! In fact, my very first concert after being appointed as the principal clarinetist of the Albany Symphony Orchestra back in 2012 was with ASO and Cirque de la Symphonie. With some really nice musical selections (including some of my favorites such as Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espanol) and great performances by the acrobats, I find these productions much more enjoyable for both musicians and audience than conventional pops or holiday concerts.  

I grew to really love playing with this group, particularly with the wonderful woodwind section! They are all outstanding musicians and amazing friends! One of many exciting projects I get to do with this group next year is a performance of Concerto for enhake called Thronateeska and Orchestra by Steve Landis. This project was initiated by my chamber ensemble enhake and Albany Symphony Orchestra a few years ago. I am really looking forward to the world premiere of Thronateeska in February and will certainly keep everyone posted about the concert.

Albany Symphony Orchestra Clarinet (and bassoon) sections!