Clarinettist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann is described as one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. When ANAM’s Kenny Keppel (NZ, clarinet) told us he was playing a Widmann composition in his upcoming recital and that he’d recently attended a masterclass with the man himself, we couldn’t resist finding out more:
How did the opportunity to attend the masterclass with Jörg Widmann arise?
A violinist friend of mine from New Zealand went to Montepulciano a couple of years ago, Jörg Widmann was there then, and I heard many good things about him. I decided this year that I’d like to do some courses in the European summer; this one at Akademie Palazzo Ricci was at a good time for me. There was no audition required, you just had to send a CV and pay the money.
What did you enjoy most about your time with him?
Widmann’s energy and attitude was really astounding. In his classes, you really get the sense that he cares about the music, and all he really wants from you is to make the music come alive. Everything he said or asked of us was somehow related to that living, breathing musical organism. I really enjoyed that. He has a lot of imagination.
How did you come to choose the piece Drei Schattentänze?
Widmann wrote another solo piece called Fantasie 10 years before Drei Schattentänze. I originally wanted to play the Fantasie, it’s a great piece which became very popular in Europe and now almost everyone knows about it. When I mentioned that to my teacher, David Thomas, he introduced me to Drei Schattentänze and suggested that I attempt it. It’s quite different writing to the Fantasie. You kind of look at the page and your brain short-circuits.
What was your favourite part of Italy (not music related)?
The Tuscan scenery was breathtaking – pines, vineyards, olive trees, everything looked like a painting.
In your recent travels, you also attended ClarinetFest in Madrid. What was the highlight for you there?
Seeing some of the world’s best clarinet players was generally a highlight. Philippe Berrod probably topped the list, he’s crazy. But the sangria was also great!
What would your dream job be after ANAM?
We’ll see how orchestral auditions go, I’d love to have a job with the flexibility to work on my own projects as well. But who knows, really. Maybe I’ll start a death metal wind quintet…
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming ANAM Season concerts and why?
I’m really looking forward to the upcoming project with Simone Young. I’m also very excited for Paul Dean’s new violin concerto in December as part of the Beethoven 7 concert at the end of the year.
IRELAND Fantasy-Sonata for clarinet and piano
WIDMANN Drei Schattentänze (3 Shadow Dances)
PROKOFIEV Sonata op. 94
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