KMFA Live: Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman

July 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

JohnClareRichardStoltzman - Cropped

John Clare and Richard Stoltzman on air in the KMFA studio.

World-renowned clarinetist Richard Stolzman and marimbist Mika Yoshida Stoltzman were in Austin this weekend performing for the 2014 Austin Chamber Music Festival. Richard stopped by our studios on Friday to speak with KMFA’s John Clare about the program for their Festival concert, what it’s like performing with his wife, and the acrobatics of playing marimba! Here is an introduction to their conversation, listen to the full interview for all the details.

John: …in the studio is Richard Stoltzman, and we were just listening to some Bach, and you guys do some arrangements. There are, unfortunately, no original marimba and clarinet works by Bach…


Richard: It would be absolutely amazing if somebody found one! However, the marimba is about 50 years old, so Bach would have had to come back. But anyway, yeah, I think the marimba and the clarinet are a beautiful combination because the marimba is a cross between the piano and drums… Chick Corea’s piece is going to be in the performance tomorrow night too, with two of the faculty members here at UT. He said, “My inspiration for Mika playing was that the marimba, to me, was a bridge between the piano and the drums.” He plays both piano and drums – great, of course – but he thought of the marimba as that. And he said, “My inspiration for you, as a clarinet player, was your sound, and the long line of the sound.” These two are fused together in the piece, and I’m getting ahead of myself, but that’s going to be the last piece in the concert by Chick Corea.

Mika and I chose Bach because he’s the universal source of joy and dance-like feelings, and of meditation. We got inspired because Peter Serkin, who is a dear friend of mine and a wonderful pianist, sent for a Christmas present a transcription that he made of the Bach two-part inventions. Each one on a different kind of electronically reproduced organs from various centuries – from ones that wheezed, and burped, and popped, to, you know, like high-tech kind of things. All Bach, but they all sounded unique, and they all sounded like Peter Serkin. Mika said, “Now I’m inspired because I know that Bach’s music can embrace us also.” So we are doing four of his Inventions tomorrow night. I’m playing, and this is a little crazy, but I’m doing the “Chromatic Fantasy” by Bach.

John: Wow!

Richard: Yeah, for clarinet it is a huge piece, of course. First of all, there’s no breath! [Laughing]. But that’s not the main thing…

Listen to the full interview to hear more from Richard. The 2014 Austin Chamber Music Festival continues through July 27th. Find the schedule and ticket information at Listen to KMFA this week for your chance to win tickets to this weekend’s performances. Listen online, on our mobile app, or on your radio at 89.5 FM.

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