Accomplishments were plentiful this past summer as members of the University of Florida School of Music traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to be a part of the 2014 International Clarinet Association’s (ICA) ClarinetFest 2014.
Among many recognitions received by UF faculty and alumni, Professor of Clarinet Mitchell Estrin was chosen for the fourth time to serve as the music director and conductor of the ICA ClarinetFest Festival Choir. He was also honored by the ICA for his contributions as the ensemble director.
“My favorite part about being the director this year was the magnitude of sound coming from the choir,” Estrin said. “I love the sound of the UF Clarinet Choir, but when you are working with a couple hundred players, it’s a completely different body of sound.”
Estrin studied as a clarinetist at The Juilliard School. He then worked as a professional musician in New York for 25 years before coming to teach at UF in 1999. He now teaches applied clarinet classes at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and is the director of the UF Clarinet Ensemble.
Along with Estrin’s recognition at the 2014 ICA ClarinetFest, he was able to direct the ICA ClarinetFest Festival Choir in the world premiere of Dr. Boda’s Magical Spinning Machine, a work commissioned for ClarinetFest and composed by School of Music Professor Paul Basler.
Estrin says the event, which was held at Louisiana State University from July 30 to August 3, 2014, was one to remember and celebrate.
“Our school, college and university were represented with distinction,” Estrin said, adding that the many layers of success at the festival were what made UF’s presence strong.
Jackie Glazier, UF alumna and adjunct professor from 2012-2013, won first prize in the 2014 ICA Orchestral Competition. 2012 UF alumna and Summa Cum Laude Jenny Maclay, whose first book has recently been accepted for publication, was the youngest presenter of refereed scholarly research at ClarinetFest.
Estrin explained that it is very prestigious to be selected to perform by the ICA, as the festival usually has an attendance of around 1,500.
“It’s an event that brings together professional players, educators, students and hobbyists,” Estrin said. “It’s a great educational opportunity for our students to hear from people who love clarinet all around the world.”
Estrin said that for him there have been many significant festivals in the past. For example, the 2004 festival in Washington, D.C. is memorable because it was the first time he was able to perform with his class.
“Our past years have been significant, but this festival was different because there were more individual accomplishments,” Estrin said. “Our presence was very strong.”
Estrin has also been invited to serve as choir director at the MidAmerica Festival at The Ohio State University Nov. 14-16, 2014. In the future he plans to possibly take another class to the 2017 ICA ClarinetFest, which is set to take place in Orlando, Florida.