ClarinetFest® 2022 Day 2
Michael Lowenstern Masterclass
by Vanessa Klassen
On Thursday, June 30th at 4pm, Michael Lowenstern presented a bass clarinet masterclass. Kimberly Fullerton started off the masterclass with a rocking performance of an unaccompanied piece Sacred Teaching of the Lonely Goose by Cornelius Boots. The second performer, Lindsey Hutchinson, performed Roger Jannotta’s transcription of Eric Dolphy’s improvisation of God Bless the Child (originally written by Billie Holiday). The final masterclass participant was Julia Lougheed, who performed a piece for bass clarinet and electronics which she commissioned as part of her DMA research entitled r….v…rs….m oooiiiiii by Gabo Champagne.
All three musicians gave excellent bass clarinet performances after which Michael Lowenstern provided useful recommendations along with a hint of his humorous personality. Michael Lowenstern emphasized that the job of the performer of a new work is to “sell the piece.” An important instruction he gave to the performers involved thinking in gestures rather than being concerned with playing all the notes exactly as written like one would play the Mozart concerto. Playing an unaccompanied piece allows the performer to take more liberties with time and play in an improvisatory-like style. He noted that the performer should identify the melody and highlight the changes in harmonies. A question Michael Lowenstern presented after Lindsey’s performance of the Dolphy was whether the performer should play the piece exactly as Dolphy did or to make it their own. Lowenstern suggested that the performer should aim somewhere between the two. He also noted that the sheet music of the Dolphy transcription is available to download for free on his website: https://www.earspasm.com/free-