Tennessee Tech University Clarinet Studio

TTU Clarinet Studio (Spring 2015) working with the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steve Reich - New York Counterpoint

The Clarinet Studio at Tennessee Tech University provides a vibrant and invigorating environment for aspiring young musicians and educators. The myriads of opportunities prepared for students are constant source of inspiration during their early musical journey and propel them far beyond the classroom. While the foremost goal is placed on developing the highest standard of musicianship and proficiency, Dr. Wonkak Kim's lessons are always imbued with various aspects of music entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary endeavors. Our students actively participate in organizing and promoting their own chamber ensembles, commissioning and recording new works, developing successful pedagogy and private studios, and collaborating with their peers across disciplines. Each year, the studio is frequented by world-renowned guest artists and highly successful young professionals who entice them with limitless possibilities.

 

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TTU clarinet ensemble

Praised by the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steve Reich for its “great ensemble playing and excellent intonation,” Tennessee Tech University (TTU) Clarinet Ensemble actively explores both traditional and contemporary clarinet choir repertoires, collaborating with esteemed composers and guest artists. Under the direction of Dr. Wonkak Kim, TTU Clarinet Ensemble regularly performs at its home institution as well as at various outreach opportunities throughout Middle Tennessee. Recent highlight includes an appearance at TTU Center Stage Series with the renowned San Francisco-based bass clarinet duo, Sqwonk, performing Jonathan Russell’s Double Bass Clarinet Concerto with Clarinet Choir and a performance of Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint at his 80th anniversary celebration with the composer in attendance. TTU Clarinet Ensemble has received numerous awards including the QEP Grants and URECA TEAM Grants which enabled the group or its members to pursue various projects, including trips to New York City and the United Kingdom. The group was recently invited to perform at International Clarinet Association's ClarinetFest® 2017 in Orlando, FL, where they will give a world premiere performance of new clarinet choir piece. 

TTU Clarinet Ensemble performing Jonathan Russell's Double Bass Clarinet Concerto with Sqwonk

TTU Clarinet Ensemble performing New York Counterpoint by Steve Reich Dr. Wonkak Kim, director Michaela Cundari, solo clarinet Microphone set up by Steve Reich (who was present at the rehearsals and performance) April 13, 2015 Wattenbarger Auditorium Tennessee Tech University

Since 2011, TTU Clarinet Studio has received over $20,000 in funding, including numerous grants from Tennessee Tech University's Quality Enhancement Program and the Center Stage. The following examples are some of the innovative projects that have been implemented:

 

Clarinet Chamber Music Ensemble (since 2012) 

Each year, students are assigned into clarinet ensembles and prepare a 30-minute concert program, featuring works of various styles. A large selection of clarinet chamber music is available in the studio library. They are encouraged to promote themselves to local performing and educational organizations and book concerts throughout the year. Students can apply for mini-grants to fund the production of their publicity materials and travel expenses. This self-driven project enables them to learn how to organize and maintain chamber ensembles, select appropriate repertoires, plan concerts and tours, collaborate with composers and other artists, and engage in outreach activities. 

Reed Making Workshop (since 2013)

Although most clarinetists do not make their reeds from scratch, understanding the process and learning to use the reed-making tools can be highly beneficial. Dr. Wonkak Kim brought in a number of popular reed-making equipments, including Reed Dual, The Reed Machine, Reed Wizard Perfect Reed, multiple reed knifes, etc. These equipments are available to all students in the studio on a sign-up basis. In addition, the QEP grant allowed the studio to purchase a large quantity of high quality canes and blanks (thousands of reeds worth of material!). This allows the students to learn reed-making techniques with trial and error, free from any financial constraints. The studio also occasionally invites guest clinicians to share their reed-making tips. 

Private Studio Workshop (starting Fall 2014)

The studio will invite respected private teachers to share their insight in how to start and maintain successful private studios. The same will be done with other prominent private teachers around the country via Skype. The students will develop their own curriculum and business model (including website and flyers, etc.) and partner with local K-12 school to find potential students. Mini-grants will be awarded to students who showcase promising proposals and teaching curricula. They will be encouraged to continue growing their private studios with high standards after the completion of this project. 

Master Classes & Clinic (since 2011)

TTU Clarinet Studio is extremely fortunate to have numerous guest artists visiting throughout the year. The students enthusiastically attend world-class performances by these guests and have opportunity to get to know them through master classes, clinics, and private lessons. The guests are invited to share with the students not only their musical insights, but the stories of their career, entrepreneurial skills, and most importantly, their genuine passion for what they do. 

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Students in TTU Clarinet Studio maintain busy summer schedule pursuing various musical activities. Many of them work with band directors across Tennessee, teaching in band camps and clinics. Others also participate in summer music festivals and workshops throughout the country and abroad. Our students have been invited to the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium Master Class, Buffet Crampon Summer Academy, Vianden International Music Festival (Luxembourg), Harlaxton Music Festival (United Kingdom), Indiana University Clarinet Workshop, and ARIA Summer Academy. Many of them have received significant grant funding and awards from the university and outside organizations to support their projects.

 

TTU Clarinet Studio Guest Artists (since Fall 2011):

  • Jeff Anderle (Clarinet Faculty - San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Sqwonk)
  • Brois Allakhverdyan (Principal Clarinet - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and LA Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Jose Franch-Ballester (Soloist - Young Concert Artist International)
  • David Blumberg (Clarinet Faculty - Philadelphia International Music Festival)* over Skype
  • Lawrence Bocaner (Former Bass Clarinetist - National Symphony Orchestra)
  • The Gremlins Duo (Atlanta, GA)
  • Alan Kay (Clarinet Faculty - Manhattan School of Music, Windscape)
  • Dr. Frank Kowalsky (Clarinet Professor - Florida State University)
  • The Magnolia Reed Trio (University of Southern Mississippi)
  • Dr. Jackie McIlwain (Clarinet Professor - University of Southern Mississippi)
  • Jacob Medlin (Founder and Owner of the Medlin Horns)
  • Kenneth Lee (Independent Studio - Lee's Studio of Music, Vienna, VA)
  • Donald Oehler (Clarinet Professor - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Dr. Timothy Phillips (Clarinet Professor - Troy University)
  • Dr. Jeremy Reynolds (Clarinet Professor - University of Denver)
  • Jonathan Russell (Composer and bass clarinetist, Sqwonk)
  • Dr. Jessica Sherer (Flutist and Faculty - Atlanta Music Project)
  • Sqwonk (renowned bass clarinet duo)
  • Dr. Todd Waldecker (Clarinet Professor - Middle Tennessee State University)
  • James Zimmermann (Principal Clarinet - Nashville Symphony Orchestra)

 

A Resource Page, featuring various original exercises, pedagogy articles, and master class videos by Dr. Kim, will be added shortly. Please visit again!

 

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