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Spanish and Serbian Clarinetists and their performances of my music.

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to witness my music being performed worldwide. It has been recorded and utilized in various settings such as competitions, radio, exams, music festivals, CD recordings, to name a few. I am grateful to have met, through the internet, many talented musicians who have become my dear friends over the years. Most of them I have not met personally!

My students have also worked tirelessly to master my compositions, and some have continued to play them year after year. There are too many to name, but I am incredibly thankful for every one of them. Creating music has brought me a world of unexpected rewards, and I am truly humbled by the impact my music has had on others. Before I delve into the details of this interview, I want to express my gratitude to all the musicians who have been inspired by my work and have found their creative voice through it. Some of the recent performances and recordings include Russian clarinetist Dmitry Rybalko, American clarinetists Diana Haskell, David Cook, Tim Bonenfant, Dr.Elizabeth Crawford, Alexander Kollias, Mindy Dragovich, Norwegian Clarinetist Inga Helene Juul, and Italian clarinetist Corrado Giuffredi who have all given outstanding performances.

Many of these players' performances can be found on Youtube, Spotify, my website, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

In the last months, two clarinetists have performed many of my works on a single program. Spanish Clarinetist Cecilia Serra Bargallo www.ceciliaserra.com and Serbian clarinetist Andrija Blagojevic. I decided to share their thoughts with those that would like to know more about my music and also a way to highlight these musicians'mmusician's contributions as teachers and performers.

INTERVIEW:

I know one thing we all have in common! The importance of creating a unique tone concept in our teaching and playing. Do you find this important in my works?

Cecilia,

"Absolutely! The pieces I play in concert begin (and end) with these

calm and singing melodies. I think it is not possible to play them

calmly and consistently if the sound (breath, embouchure, and

hearing) are not “in their place".It seems a contradiction, but the

more secure you are with it, the more free you can play!"

For me, the tone concept is not only what and how it sounds, but how capable you are to give direction to this sound and to connect the notes in a musical way that the audience can understand.

Andrija "Yes, they are easily played on the clarinet; that’s probably one of the reasons why clarinetists like them."


What connects you to my pieces?

Cecilia "I discovered first your excellent book "Time for Tone", but I did not know you were a composer! I was looking for pieces for solo clarinet, and I discovered yours. The first was "The Generation of Hope", if I remember well. Then "Creating, Created, Creation", "The Whispering Child", and "The Children of the Tribes". What connected me to your pieces has been, above all, the humanity, the inspiration in life, creation, children. As a mother,I feel all this stuff so close to me."

Andrija "I played your compositions several times. I gave the Serbian premieres of The Generation of Hope in 2010 (at the Stanislav Binički music manifestation), and of the Ode to Odessa in 2013 (at the Donne in musica international festival). They were well received, so I performed them many times afterward, and my students played them, too, at various concerts, auditions, and competitions. This year, on July 11, I performed at the same concert your compositions: Creating Created Creation, Games of the Soul, Nigun Li, The Whispering Child, and The Children of the Tribes.


Are my pieces easy to play, in the sense that they are well adapted to the clarinet?

Cecilia " They are absolutely playable on the clarinet. However ,there are passages that must be practiced.

Andrija " Yes, they are easily played on the clarinet; that's probably one of the reasons why clarinetists like them."


My music was once confused with the composer Ligeti. Do you agree?

Cecilia" I don't know Ligeti so deeply, but I would not say that!

Andrija "That's an interesting anecdote. I have similar anecdotes regarding your music: when it is played in Serbia, the audience usually thinks that it was inspired by traditional Serbian music! Obviously, there are some similarities between musical heritages.


Since you have played more than two of my compositions on a program, did you find this successful?

Cecilia "I have had the opportunity to play the four pieces mentioned above three times in Concert: the first time in a program called "EVA", also with works by Jenni Brandon and Kristen Denni-Chambers; second and third times in a program "The feminine clarinetist", where I explain the history of the instrument and its repertoire from the point of view of women. I intercalate your pieces with Brandon's. It is very refreshing for the audience to listen to new pieces, not the typical repertoire for solo clarinet. The singing melodies, the free cadenzas,the virtuoso sections,the fact that your music is telling a story...I think I try to express that in my playing and people perceive this story, even if they cannot explain exactly what the story is about: feelings arrive to them, I do my best to touch the listeners with your music!

Andrija " Yes, because they are stylistically connected, and they don't last long, so the audience perceives them as a whole.


I don't like long interviews, mostly because we are today on "overload" with emails and social media. Here is my last question:

If you could choose one of my pieces, that you have performed, which one would you recommend for a concert or recital and why?

Cecilia " I have two favorite pieces: "The Whispering Child" and The Children of the Tribes" (the last one I played on E-flat clarinet). For me, both are very pleasant to listen to, and I enjoy very much playing them for the opportunity they provide me to tell a story that goes through many different moods: quiet and innocent melodies, free sections, and virtuoso passages.


Andrija "Well, I have been recommending several of your compositions to colleagues and students, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be "The Generation of Hope", because of its emotional charge.


Thank you, Cecilia and Andrija!







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