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Showing posts from 2014

My flute is Japanese, I think my flute is Japanese, I really think so...

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Since my last few posts have been clarinet-centric, and I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about flutes (which isn't really all that new or unusual), I thought I'd do some talking about a topic that seems to generate some mild disagreement in the flute world, or at the very least is the source of a bit of division among flute players, and that is...Japanese flutes vs. American flutes. 
Much is written and heard about the glorious Haynes sound, or the unrivaled mechanics of the Brannen Brothers' offerings, or the rich history of Verne Q. Powell. Let us also not ignore Lillian Burkart and Kanichi Nagahara, also churning out much-beloved magical flutey-tubes from their Boston workshops. (It should be noted that Nagahara, while certainly of Japanese origin, lives and makes his flutes in Boston, and as such is considered an American maker.)
But, this isn't about them...
On the other side of the globe, we have the big Japanese heavy-hitters of the last few dec…

ClarinetFest2014: All The Laughter, All The Smears...

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This past Friday, August 1st, 2014, I found myself on a bus at the crack of 8am from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to spend a day at the International Clarinet Association's 2014 ClarinetFest, a trip made possible by the kindness and generosity of Tom and Ted Ridenour, who had extra admission badges and allowed me to have one. Thanks, guys! :-)

 This article is going to be primarily a review of what I felt to be the standout instruments of the day, but I would be a terrible blogger if I didn't mention the unholy cacophony of 50 clarinetists at a time (most of whom I imagine to be collegiate underclassmen incapable of controlling their desire to strut their stuff, no matter how ill-advised that desire may have been) playing the smear from Rhapsody in Blue over. And over. And over. And over. All. Day. Long. There was one particularly charming fellow who thought it was a fantastic idea to try it up an octave. Multiple times. At FFFFFF. Without success. I don't know how I've …