Report by Wesley Ferreira
The sixth annual Lift Clarinet Academy was a great success! Held from June 17-21, the academy this year welcomed Dr. Wonkak Kim of the University of Oregon as our guest artist.
As is now customary, we began the festivities on Monday morning with (what we hope is) an inspiring faculty concert to start the week. Dr. Starling and I opened the program with the Sonata for Two Clarinets and Piano by Gary Shocker. We were joined in performance by Colorado State University faculty pianist Dr. Timothy Burns, now in his fourth year as part of the academy. Dr. Burns performs both with faculty and student performers throughout the week. The recital continued with Starling performing Three Miniatures by Pendercki, Kim performing a new unaccompanied work by composer Jean Ahn called Brush, while I performed the third movement of Weber's Grand Duo Concertante. We concluded the concert as a trio, performing Trio, Op. 8, No. 2 by Jacques Bouffil.
Following the recital, we had a meet and greet session and right from the get-go I could tell that we were all going to have a great week together. The students were already so friendly and warm with one another.
The week proceeded with a bevy of individualized clinics, training sessions, private lessons, chamber music rehearsals and coachings, and performance master classes. We pack a lot into one week! As artistic directors, Jana Starling and I have created a very organized and intensive week of clarinet study. You really have to attend to believe it.
We also took some time away from the clarinet to travel to the Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins. It's a breathtaking location. Some students took the afternoon to visit the many wonderful shops and restaurants in nearby Old Town in Fort Collins. Our annual social outing in the park got rained out which allowed us to employ our rainy-day contingency plan for the first time. Thanks to the amazing facilities that we have at Colorado State University, we were able to move the entire dinner/social event indoors to the spacious Instrumental Rehearsal Hall. Kudos to the students for making the best of it and having fun nonetheless.
The final concert on Friday evening this year was one to remember. We had such talented students performing as soloists, and the clarinet quartets demonstrated what it truly means to perform cohesive and artistic chamber music. We always end the final concert with a clarinet choir performance with all of the students. This year we performed all four movements of Rikudim - Four Israeli Folk Dances by Jan van der Roost.
Following the final concert, we walked across the street to a fancy restaurant for our annual post-final concert reception. It's our chance to say our goodbyes before students depart the following morning. One of my favorite aspects of teaching at the Lift Clarinet Academy is the number of students who return year after year. I hope to see many of you again next year along with some new faces!