I was not quite sure what to expect from this year’s OU Clarinet Symposium. I have been to three of the past conferences and have always enjoyed going, but was a little concerned about this year since it is just starting back since losing David Etheridge and the schedule did not seem quite as full as it had been in the past.

It’s been absolutely perfect for this first day. Parking and registration were easy and we began our day with David Shifrin’s master class. Each of the four participants received about thirty minutes of coaching on topics that included ensemble balance, fundamentals, and phrasing. Next the Verdehr Trio presented a recital called “A Tasting Menu: A Retrospective of Verdehr Trio Repertoire.” As the title implies, the program was a sampling of several different pieces that had been commissioned for the trio, in most cases, only one or two movements were played. The performers talked to the audience and gave additional background information throughout the performance. This is the first time that I have been able to hear Elsa play live and I really enjoyed her performance!

Next, we visited the exhibits. Check out the neat cases pictured in the slideshow above, very unique! I bought some new music and really liked Buffet’s new barrel that I tried out.

After a delicious dinner at Blackbird Gastropub, we finished our night with David Shifrin’s recital. Chad Burrow also joined him for part of the recital.

Because the schedule does not overlap at the conference this year, it is actually a lot less overwhelming to try and make it to everything. I really do not feel like I am missing anything. Since the symposium is a little smaller, it’s also allowing a lot more time to be social with other clarinetists and the artists. Another full day awaits us tomorrow!