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!