Clarinetfest 2011

Ashley Walters, Andrew McIntosh, Kathleen Jones, Andrew Tholl, Mark Menzies, and composer Luis Enrique Juliá Here we are in the Grand Salon at Cal State Northridge, after performing Quintets from the Caribbean at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 5th.
From left, the Formalist Quartet, Ashley Walters, cello, Andrew McIntosh, viola and 1st violin, Kathleen Jones, clarinet, Andrew Tholl, 2nd violin, Mark Menzies, 1st violin and viola, and composer Luis Enrique Juliá, who journeyed from Puerto Rico to hear his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings performed. (Due to time limitations we presented only three of the five movements.) We also played François Bahuaud’s charming, four-movement, Divertimento for Clarinet and Strings.

la Asociación Pro Orquesta Sinfónica

Ana María Hernández, Emmanuel Díaz, Josué Casillas, Elisa Torres, myself, and Joshua Pantojas The Puerto Rico Symphony’s marvelous support group is called "APOS" or, in Spanish, "la Asociación Pro Orquesta Sinfónica." One of their many projects to benefit the Orchestra is the "Beca Sanromá", a scholarship for summer studies, awarded to tenured musicians. Some of this year’s recipients performed two selections for members at their annual meeting on June 22, 2011: Ana María Hernández, Emmanuel Díaz, Josué Casillas, Elisa Torres, myself, and Joshua Pantojas.

David Shifrin--Weber Concerto #2

David Shifrin with the PRSO woodwind section David Shifrin was with us on May 14th, playing a gorgeous Weber Concerto #2 on our 11th subscription concert. Here he is at the end of the concert in Sala Sinfónica with the PRSO woodwind section: front, from left, Jonathan Figueroa, and Josué Casillas, flutes, Frances Colon and Ian Wisekal, oboes; top, from left, Emmanuel (Pochi) Diaz, David, myself, and bassoons Adam Havrilla and Ian Sherbanesco. We look forward to David in our area again in the spring of 2012.

The fabulous Duo Scarbó--Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals

Elena Hammel and Laura Sánchez with Cecilia Talavera, Elena’s teacher The fabulous Duo Scarbó (Elena Hammel and Laura Sánchez, pianists) appeared with us on May 28th playing Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals on our 12th subscription concert. I still remember their performance of Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnol in the Casals Festival several years ago—they got so many colors out of their two pianos that I was amazed not to be missing any of the instruments from the composer’s later orchestration of the piece. Elena, now mother of two beautiful young children, is pursuing a new career in Montesori piano teaching. Thus, their appearance marked their last performance as a duo. Their energetic and sensitive work will be missed!

Here they are with Cecilia Talavera, Elena’s teacher, who also just announced her retirement, at the tender age of 93, from Conservatory teaching. Doña Ceci has been a key figure at the CMPR since its doors opened in 1960, first as a student of Jesús María Sanromá, then as a professor, and always as a fine pianist, especially in duos with her sister, Luz Hutchinson. I call her Santa Cecilia, the patron saint of music, because she has been the personification of that ideal in Puerto Rico for so many decades. Mother of four, grandmother of eight, great-grandmother of 16, aunt of our concertmaster, and teacher of hundreds (including Elena and the CMPR’s chancellor, Maria del Carmen Gil,) Ceci must stay close to us all!

Vieques and Plácido Domingo

Here I am with Pochi, our second clarinetist The Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra played in Vieques for the first time in history. We went by bus from Santurce to Fajardo, by ferry to Vieques, and by vans to the old Fortín, where, conducted by Rafael Enrique Irizarry (our Assistant Principal Horn,) and by Francisco Figueroa (our Assistant Principal Violist,) we participated in the Vieques Festival, to the delight of several hundred residents, and many more watching the live WIPR broadcast. Here I am with Pochi, our second clarinetist, at the end of the concert, with the old wall of the fort behind us.

The next day, bleary-eyed from arriving at 2 a.m. from Vieques, we played in Plácido Domingo’s fabulous show in the Miguel Agrelot Coliseo (we call it the Choliseo, because the famous comedian for whom this coliseum is named was nicknamed Don Cholo.) Plácido, always the consummate gentleman and an artist without peer, offered a cornucopia of styles, including Spanish zarzuela, Argentinian tango, Mexican mariachi, with guest artists, thrilling thousands of fans.

ClarinetFest 2011 is coming up!!

Cal State Northridge, August 3-7
I’ll be playing Caribbean music for clarinet and string quartet on Friday, August 5th from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. Kathy with the members of the 
            Pacifica Quartet First up will be a charming Divertimento by François Bahuaud, a French cellist who has worked in the Dominican Republic for decades. (When I first arrived in Puerto Rico François was acting principal cellist of the PRSO, and one of the few people I could speak with, because I had studied French!) His quintet is a delight! Then, we shall perform three of the five movements of Luis Enrique Juliá’s Quinteto, which I played in the 2010 Casals Festival with the fabulous Pacifica Quartet. The composer (who will be present) says the work is a conversation between the strings (representing Luis Pales Matos, a famous Puerto Rican poet) and the clarinet (representing a gorgeous local girl who became his lover.)
I’ll hope to see you there!

Premio Héctor Campos Parsi

On February 13th I was deeply honored to receive the Premio Héctor Campos Parsi (Hector Campos Parsi Prize) at the closing concert of the II Congreso Puertorriqueño de Creación Musical (Second Puerto Rican Congress of Musical Creation) at the Hector Campos Parsi Prize II Congreso Puertorriqueño de Creación Musical (CMPR.) The beautiful plaque reads: "2ndo Congreso Puertorriqueño de Creación Musical, Premio Héctor Campos Parsi, A Kathleen Jones, Por su excelsa labor en el fomento, educación, exposición y difusión de la música de los compositores puertorriqueños. Otorgado hoy, 13 de febrero de 2011 en San Juan, Puerto Rico, Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico." (Second Puerto Rican Congress of Musical Creation, Héctor Campos Parsi Prize, to Kathleen Jones, for her lofty work in the fomentation, education, exposition and diffusion of the music of Puerto Rican composers. Awarded today, February 13, 2011 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, CMPR.)

When I was notified that I would be honored, I began to search through my calendars, to see if my contribution was really worthy of such a distinction. The list of works I have played and/or recorded, in the PRSO, in Camerata Caribe, at ClarinetFests, etc. Kathy with Alfonso, Efrain and Ricardo. is long; dozens of composers are represented. Some works are included in my Annotated Bibliography of Works Dedicated to Camerata Caribe (see Writings.) In a future post I shall give a global picture of the fascinating repertoire from Puerto Rico that has been my great privilege and joy to perform.

The other 2011 recipient of the Héctor Campos Parsi Prize was the Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular, represented by its Executive Director, Javier Santiago. I was very pleased to be honored along with this fine non-profit group, which, in 2009, ranked Caribe Clarinete fifth in its listing of the top 20 CDs made in Puerto Rico during the previous year. (See Recordings for that review.)

Meanwhile, the concert, held in the Sala Sanroma, was a fascinating banquet of works by composers from Puerto Rico (Alfonso Fuentes, Armando Ramírez, and Roberto Sierra,) Venezuela (Efrain Amaya and Ricardo Lorenz,) and Cuba (Guido López Gavilán.)

Camerata Caribe

Camerata Caribe, a chamber music group in residence at the Conservatorio de Música de PR, was formed in August of 1982 by Peter Kern, flute; David Bourns, oboe; Kathleen Jones, clarinet; Alan Brown, bassoon; and Vanessa Vassallo, piano. All of us were full-time professors, and (except for the pianist) full-time principals in the PRSO, with an interest in playing chamber music together. We played dozens of concerts, including presentations at the CMPR, UPR, Festival Casals, and in St. Croix, USVI; Orlando, FL; and Spartanburg, SC. More than sixty-six works have been dedicated to the group, which has as a goal, the fomenting Camerata Caribe’s first publicity photo, from 1982 of works by local composers. (An Annotated Bibliography of these works, and some others of interest is available by request— see Writings.) All of us original members have, by now, retired, and have been replaced by the current professors at the CMPR.
On November 29, 2010 our beloved Vanessa passed away at the age of 72. We were taken by surprise, because she always took very good care of herself and we assumed she would live into her 90’s. Cancer apparently paid no attention to her clean living and angelic spirit. I offer the pictures and text below as my tribute to Vanessa, who, for me, was a paragon of grace and beauty. I am so grateful that I knew and worked with her, and she shall always be "en mi corazon."

One of our most prestigious "gigs" was in the 1989 Casals Festival, when we played a program in four cities around the island, including works by England’s Paul Harvey and Puerto Rico’s Narciso Figueroa, amongst others. Here are two pages from the Centro de Bellas Artes magazine, showing we were in rather stellar company in that Festival! (Shown are Narciso Yepes, the Juilliard String Quartet, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Rostropovich, and Camerata Caribe.)

 Bellas Artes publicity magazine  Bellas Artes publicity magazine

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