ClarinetFest® 2022 Day 2
Orchestral Audition Competition
by Sarah Triggs
The 2022 Orchestral Audition Competition heard four very talented clarinetists. This year’s contestants were Annah Aquino-Chavarria, Sheng Chen, Julian Puerto and Ben Quarles. The applicants had to prepare 12 different excerpts utilizing B-flat clarinet, A clarinet, and bass clarinet. Some of the excerpts that they had to prepare were; The Mozart Concerto K. 622 Movement I exposition, Mendelssohn’s Midsummers Night’s Dream; Scherzo, Respighi’s Pines of Rome movement II, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 version) Variation de I’oiseau de feu, and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker; No. 4 Scene Dansante. You can see the full list of excerpts for this year on the ICA website under the competitions category.
Vanguel Tangarov coordinated the competition this year. Tangarov is associate professor of clarinet at Texas State University and an artistic director and founder of the annual international clarinet event Texas State Clarinet Fiesta. He explained to me how this competition is so important to show the applicants and audience the tremendous amount of work it takes to audition for a major symphony orchestra. His passion for clarinet and orchestral performance is prominent.
The judges for this year’s competition were Sauro Berti, Sunshine Simmons and Stephen Williamson. Berti is the bass clarinetist of Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma and is a world-traveling soloist. Simmons is an associate professor of clarinet at the University of North Florida as well as a world-traveling soloist and recording artist. Williamson is the principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, appointed in 2011, and a world-traveling soloist.
All of the applicants were extremely prepared and performed beautifully. After much deliberation by the appointed judges, Ben Quarles took first place winning $1000.00 and a clarinet mouthpiece and Annah Aquino-Chavarria took second place winning $500.00 and a clarinet mouthpiece.