THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL CLARINET ASSOCIATION
For a comprehensive history of the association written by ICA past president and historian Alan E. Stanek, including photos and more, please click here.
- 1964: The University of Denver’s (DU) National Clarinet Clinic contributed much to our history. Ralph Strouf, then-professor of clarinet at the University of Denver (which hosted a National Clarinet Clinic), recalled how planning for the university’s centennial in 1964 resulted in a call for national conferences on their campus. The university’s president said he would fund qualified conferences.
- July 1964: Ralph’s “good idea” to have a clarinet festival was proposed, funded, and clarinet enthusiasts gathered for a five-day clinic. Ralph asked his teacher and mentor, the late Keith Stein, to serve as the artistic director so that he could coordinate the logistics of such a conference. Keith was enthusiastic and immediately suggested that the new clarinet teacher at Michigan State University, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, be invited.
- 1967: Strouf resigned for a new position at the new Metropolitan State College in Denver. That summer, Ramon Kireilis, having just finished his doctorate at the University of Michigan, was invited to interview for the open position during the 1967 National Clarinet Clinic. The DU School of Music administration wanted their prospective clarinet professor to know about this successful national clinic so it could be continued in coming years.
- 1973: Ramon Kireilis gathered clinic participants at the National Clarinet Clinic to form what was to be known as the International Clarinet Society (I.C.S.), with a mission statement, officers, committees, and an official quarterly journal, The Clarinet.
- August 15, 1974: Bylaws were written and adopted and the Articles of Incorporation were officially filed.
- 1974: From this date forward, the Society was invited to hold its annual business meeting during the Clinic.
- 1974: The Burnett C. Tuthill Research Library was the original basis of the I.C.S. Research Library, with Cecil Gold, Director. It was housed at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho in 1974.
- 1976: The library was moved to the University of Akron, Ohio.
- 1978: The late Lee Gibson (1915-2013), Kireilis’ mentor from North Texas State University, volunteered to be the editor of the Society’s publication, The Clarinet. Lee became President in 1978 when Kireilis wanted to devote his full energies as director of what had now become the International Clarinet Clinic.
- 1979: The Research Library was moved to the University of Maryland Special Collections of Music at the Hornbake Library.
- 1981: The first mid-year meeting was held in Chicago the fall of 1981. Such mid-year meetings continue to be held as the association matures. Initiation of and funding for projects was discussed, updating sections of the Conference Handbook were hashed out, proposals for upcoming conference sites were discussed, and ideas for growing our membership were paramount.
- 1981: After the Toronto Congress in 1978, the first Congress outside of North America was held in 1981 in Paris, France. Guy Deplus and the Paris Clarinet Quartet, especially Michel and Anne-Marie Gizard, were our hosts. Going through the Buffet factory was a special event for Congress attendees.
- 1981-1982: Another clarinet organization made its appearance – ClariNetwork International, Inc. (C.I.) Reasons for this competing organization are many. A perceived notion that membership and the organization’s officers were primarily from the academic world (college/university professors), it appeared that there was a need for an organization that included and/or paid more attention to professional (symphony orchestra) performers, and that annual meetings and conferences, having been held mostly in Denver (no east or west coast meetings of I.C.S. had yet been held), needed more varied locations. John Mohler as I.C.S. President, along with Ed Riley President of C.I., and Gerry Errante (the only person to have been President of both organizations at one time or another), dealt mainly with getting the two organization merged as one.
- 1986: Bill McColl hosted the ‘86 conference in Seattle where William O. (Bill) Smith’s Line Up music may have set the Guinness World Record for the longest line up of clarinetists.
- 1988: Prior to the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Clarinet Conference (Richmond, Virginia) in 1988, “a meeting of members of both boards of directors was held in Des Moines, Iowa and subsequent articles were published in The Clarinet explaining to the members the plan of merger. Harry Rubin, legal counsel to the Society, explained how the corporate merger was to take place and moved that the merger be approved by the members in attendance at the meeting. The motion was seconded by Leo Chak and unanimously approved by the 59 members present.” At the VCU conference John Mohler and Chuck West, with Bud Rubin from I.C.S. and Gerry Errante, Ed Riley and Daniel Levy from ClariNetwork International, Inc. and others, facilitated the merger.
- 1991: The merged organization had the unwieldy name – International Clarinet Society/ClariNetwork International, Inc. In 1991, the name was changed by a vote of the membership to International Clarinet Association (I.C.A.).
- 1997: the Orchestral Audition Competition (OAC) was founded and coordinated by Raphael Sanders.
- 1998-2000: Bob Spring’s administration authorized the funds to get the RESEARCH LIBRARY Catalog online. The online catalog is very easy to use and a valuable resource to all I.C.A. members.
- 2000-2002: Julie DeRoche becomes the first female I.C.A. president. Julie’s board initiated a Grant Competition in 2002, which funded regional clarinet gatherings, research projects, etc. Discussions at Board meetings began focused discussions on controlling all aspects of ClarinetFests, such as organization, artistic considerations, exhibitors, advertising and finances.
- 2008-2010: During Gary Whitman’s term of office the I.C.A. website was revamped. The Board hired Brian Covington as our web master and charged him with the task of creating a new user friendly website. Brian created a Members Only section to place back issues of the magazine on the website, as well as pedagogy articles, master-classes, and videos. It was also at this time that I.C.A. joined Facebook and explored the use of social media to promote membership and attendance at ClarinetFest® conferences.
- 2010: Electronic voting for officers began in the spring. The Board brought back the Composition Competition and entered into a joint commissioning project with our sister organizations to create a woodwind quintet, N.F.A. (National Flute Association), I.D.R.S. (International Double Reed Society), and I.H.S. (International Horn Society). The process started in 2009 and resulted in a performance of Hardwood for Wind Quintet by Lansing McLoskey at ClarinetFest® 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- 2019: ClarinetFest 2019 attendees set the Guinness World Record for Largest Clarinet Choir ever assembled. It was conducted by ICA President Mitchell Estrin.
Since 2010, ClarinetFest attendance has virtually doubled, and social media and other technologies have allowed the ICA to truly internationalize.