ETSU Clarinet Ensemble and faculty selected to perform at prestigious festival

Published 2:27 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

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The Clarinet Ensemble of East Tennessee State University’s Department of Music has been invited to perform at the prestigious Music by Women Festival in Columbus, Miss., on March 7.

The eighth annual international festival features new and historic music by women composers. It is held at the Mississippi University for Women and is supported in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The ETSU Clarinet Ensemble was selected to perform “Playground of the Mind” by Alice Jones based on a recording of its performance of the piece during ETSU’s 2023 Equity and Inclusion Conference.

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“It is an honor for our ensemble to be selected,” said Dr. Lisa Perry, assistant professor of clarinet at ETSU and director of the ensemble. “Performing at this international festival will give our students the chance to perform in a professional setting while sharing an incredible piece of music written for the clarinet ensemble. They will have the opportunity to attend concerts and interact with students from across the country, as well as professional composers and performers.

“I also hope it sparks interest in researching the amazing music written for our instrument, but not often traditionally played in our standard body of repertoire.”

Members of the ETSU Clarinet Ensemble include Kate Boundy, Clinton; Franklin Acosta, Elizabethton; Riley Keene, Gray; Landon Hensley, Greeneville; Dayton Sheffield, Johnson City; Jacob Foster, Sevierville; Sarah Smith, Surgoinsville; Anna Bullock, Soddy-Daisy; Will Carter and Alyson Newsom, both of Tullahoma; Khristiyana Adams, Big Stone Gap, Va.; and Hunter Bishop and Paige Statzer, both of Bristol, Va.

In addition to the students, Perry and two of her Department of Music colleagues, Drs. Heather Killmeyer (oboe) and Brian Rodesch (saxophone), will perform at the festival as the faculty woodwind ensemble Classical Appalachia. The trio will premiere a commissioned arrangement of “Destiny” by Theresa Martin for oboe, saxophone and bass clarinet.

Classical Appalachia has played at this festival for several years, according to Perry.

“We have gotten to know fantastic composers and performers through the event,” she said. “I always leave with a lot of inspiration and learn about new clarinet repertoire written by female composers. I have used many of these pieces in my teaching at ETSU, and it is special to be able to share this experience with the students this year.”

Attending and participating in major festivals and conferences like the Music by Women Festival is a prime example of the many experiential and hands-on learning opportunities ETSU offers its students. The university is home to a thriving arts community and is a source of tremendous creativity in the Appalachian Highlands.