by Meghan Taylor
The second annual Lift Clarinet Academy was held June 15-19, 2015, and featured a week of focused clarinet study and fellowship. Throughout the week, participants were invited to perform with chamber ensembles, in master classes, and during the final concert. In addition, participants attended presentations and private lessons taught by the Lift faculty. Dr. Wesley Ferreira from Colorado State University and Dr. Jana Starling from Western University in Canada are the permanent faculty members at the Lift Clarinet Academy, and this year Dr. Diane Barger from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln joined the faculty as a guest artist.
The Lift Clarinet Academy hosted twenty four students from all over the United States and Colombia. Each participant had the opportunity to take their playing to the next level through the individualized instruction that the faculty members provided.
The week started off with a faculty recital that featured works by a variety of composers such as Béla Kovács, James M. David and Arnold Cooke. After a short meet and greet, the presentations began. Starling did presentations on articulation and contemporary techniques, while Ferreira presented on playing in the altissimo and fundamentals in clarinet tone. Barger led a discussion during her presentation that gave participants an insight into playing with musical expression.
During the week, participants were placed into chamber ensembles and were given time to rehearse for a performance during the final concert on Friday evening. The chamber ensembles had the opportunity to be coached by each of the faculty members before their performance. Working with an entirely new group of people gave participants a new perspective on concert preparation.
Halfway through the week, participants were given the opportunity to step out of the practice room and enjoy an afternoon at the local Horsetooth Reservoir. The beautiful scenery was a breath of fresh air that rejuvenated the participants for their remaining time at the Lift Clarinet Academy. Upon their return from the reservoir, participants and faculty took part in a discussion about performance anxiety. This discussion was particularly enlightening because everyone was able to share their experiences and give the other participants guidance on how they could better cope with their own performance anxiety.
During the final two days of the academy, the participants were given an opportunity to perform on a master class that was taught by a member of the faculty. These master classes featured Rose Etudes and standard clarinet repertoire, such as the Mozart Concerto in A major, K. 662 and Brahms Sonata No. 1, Op. 120.
The final concert was a culmination of everything that the chamber groups had been working on all week and it was an opportunity for a few participants to perform solo repertoire. The concert featured solo works from Gerald Finzi and Claude Debussy and the chamber works of Clare Grundman, Michael Henry and Yvonne Desportes. Upon the conclusion of the concert, the participants, faculty, and their families were invited to the local Café Vino for a reception which provided a wonderful opportunity to reflect on an amazing week.