Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New MUSIC Year!

Start your 2006 off right with my favorite living Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki.

Here's my interview with him.
[real audio files]
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

This interview is (c) 2004- John Clare/PanufnikProductions - Interview may not be used in any form without the permission of the author.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The year in review

Some highlights of 2005...
Complete outline of Outreach activities for KCNV. Interview with WQXR.

Attend my first AMPPR conference. Interview with WFMT.

First “Harmony@Home” concert for Las Vegas Chamber Music Society (LVCMS). 25th Anniversary of Nevada Public Radio. Play Handel’s Judas Maccabeus for Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society. Attend the Las Vegas Philharmonic Gala at the Venetian.

Complete season two of 20/20 Hearing™. Vacation in Wichita. Turn 35 years old. Opening of Wynn Las Vegas.

Las Vegas’ 100th Birthday. Several interviews with WITF. Arrange trio for Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art opening at the Bellagio for the LVCMS.

Attend opening of Casa Fuente at Forum Shops – playing is Arturo Sandoval, also Andy Garcia; after party at Pure. Plays lots of Vivaldi concerti for the LVCMS fundraiser. Move to Central PA. Start at WITF.

Start blogging again! Attend Market Square Concerts with Fry Street Quartet. Produce my first ArtBeat. Increase number of cds for new releases with contacts from record companies.

See friends from Germany in NYC. Go to my first YorkFest.

Attend Gretna Music for the first time. Receive call from ASCAP – win Deems Taylor Award for 20/20 Hearing™.

Hear Concertante for the first time – amazing music made with great taste. Discover great waterin' hole, Zembies in downtown H'burg.

Move my folks from Wichita to Omaha. Play world premiere of Dick Strawser’s Nocturne for violin and piano. Hear Hilary Hahn recital in Philadelphia – same day meet Jennifer Higdon in person. Birth of Laura Alexandra Perry. Hear world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto with Colin Curry in Philadelphia.

See eighth blackbird live on their 10th anniversary. Accept Deems Taylor Award, NYC. Receive Top Flight Award from WITF for playing violin at volunteer brunch. Record several interviews for Composing Thoughts; my first episode airs 12/31 with Chris Theofanidis.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Saying Goodbye 2005

Here is, sadly, a list of composers who passed away this year.

Clinton Carpenter, 84, American composer (finished Mahler's 10th Symphony)
Donald Martino, 74, American composer.
Soong Fu-Yuan, Chinese-American composer
Gardner Read, 92, American classical composer.
Stephen L. Mosko, 58, American composer.
Ann Wyeth McCoy, 90, American painter and composer.
Rick Rhodes, 54, American film composer and music supervisor, winner of six Emmy Awards.
Georges Arvanitas, 74, French-born Greek jazz pianist and composer.
Alfred Reed, 84, prominent American composer of concert band music.
Jeronimas Kacinskas, 98, Lithuanian-born classical composer and conductor.
Luc Ferrari, 76, French musique concrète composer.
Arnold Cooke, 98, British composer.
Al Carmines, 69, reverend, composer, singer and actor.
Noel Nicola, 58, Cuban composer, co-founder modern Trova music.
Lyle Murphy, 96, Hollywood composer (Three Stooges Show).
Nick Perito, 81, composer and arranger.
Joe Harnell, 80, Grammy-winning jazz composer.
David Diamond, 89, American composer.
George Rochberg, 86, American composer.
Richard Lewine, 94, Broadway composer and TV producer.
Michalis Genitsaris, 86, Greek rebetiko singer and composer.
Robert Farnon, 87, Grammy Award winning arranger, composer.
Alexander Brott, 90, Canadian composer, conductor and violinist.
Tony Croatto, 65, Italian-Puerto Rican composer-singer.
Grant Johannesen, 83, American classical pianist and composer.
Rigo Tovar, 58, popular Mexican singer and composer.
Norberto "Pappo" Napolitano, 54, Argentine blues and rock n' roll guitarist and composer.
Helmut Eder, 88, Austrian composer.
David Hönigsberg, 45, composer and conductor.
Franco Mannino, 80, prolific Italian film and classical composer.
Dick Gallagher, 49, Off-Broadway composer.
Alfred Hause, 84, German composer and conductor.
Miriam Hyde, 91, Australian composer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Audio post #5

I'm quite excited to be working on a New Music show called Composing Thoughts on WITF. In the past, I have produced a show in Las Vegas, called 20/20 Hearing (there's a link to it on the right side of this page - and several other cools ones too!) I wanted to share an example of 20/20 Hearing from a very talented composer, Gunther Schuller.
Real Audio file

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

'Clarely Classical' Awards 2005

My very own online music awards.
Musician of the year: Hilary Hahn. Her recital performance was outstanding, and we have Spohr and Paganini to look forward to this year – definitely go get her Mozart Sonatas album.

Pianist of the year: Helene Grimaud. If her debut album stunned you, wait til you hear her Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Perhaps her most thoughtful and gentle interpretations.

Violinist of the year: Pamela Frank. For her charming reading of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Violin Concerto now out on Naxos.

Singer of the year: Ian Bostridge. His latest Britten disc will take you by storm.

Young artist of the year: A tie! eighth blackbird and Concertante. Both of these groups will astound you – go see them if you have a chance.

Conductor of the year: Gerard Schwarz. Champion of American composers and of my all time favorite, Andzrej Panufnik.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sir Andzrej Panufnik. A remarkable life and composer (even if he passed away in 1991).

Personal highlights of 2005
Proudest moment: Accepting the Deems Taylor Award for 20/20 Hearing™.

Runner-up proudest moment: Successful fundraiser for the Las Vegas Chamber Music Society (also a Las Vegas swansong for me) of Vivaldi Concerti with friends including Teller (of Penn & Teller) conducting.

Another very proud moment: Getting my folks settled in Omaha from Wichita.

Most affecting moment: Farewell dinners with many friends in Las Vegas.

Most unfortunate moment: Receiving call from GM at Nevada Public Radio the night before my final day saying I would not be on-air the last day. Give me a break! It not only reassured me that I had made the right decision but that they were a corporate nightmare.

Biggest sigh of relief moment: Accepting Host/Music Programmer position at WITF in Harrisburg at the end of the in-person interview.

Memorable though questionable moment: Leading a tour of Nevada Public Radio of my peers and introducing the music of violinist Rebecca Ramsey. I adore her and her compositions but wasn't sure what Public Radio Land would think. They dug her and the tour!

Personality of the year: Dan Welcher. Funny composer who always can make me laugh, and engage in thoughtful discussions.

Family of the year: Yenchko family. From their constant friendship, to the splendid gatherings these guys have made Central PA home.

Woman of the year: Rachael Ray.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Audio post #4

As I juggle duties, hobbies, and am wondering how a.d.d./serial-monogramist I really am, I thought I'd share a compostion I wrote for violin senza voce. It is my Carmen (Electra) Fantasy.
[hey, she's a woman named for two operas, think about it!]
Real Audio file

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Wonder where? why?

You should remember the following Norse fable the next time you sneak a peck under the mistletoe: Frigga, goddess of love and beauty, wanted to make the world safe for her son, Balder.
Everything on earth promised to do him no harm except the one plant Frigga overlooked, mistletoe. Loki, an evil spirit, made an arrow from the mistletoe's wood and killed Balder. Frigga's tears became the plant's white berries and revived her son.
In her gratitude, Frigga promised to kiss anyone who passed under the mistletoe, just as we do today.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Audio post #3

Last year in December I was proud to be a part of the first ever presentation of the complete Bartok String Quartets in Las Vegas. It was made available by my friend Teller (the shorter, quieter half of Penn & Teller.) Before the occasion I talked with Diane Chaplin, the cellist of the Colorado Quartet. Here's the interview we did. Enjoy!
Real Audio file

Friday, December 23, 2005

Audio post #2

Here is a collage of American Music from an episode of 20/20 Hearing(tm) I did in the second season.
Real Audio file

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Audio post

Please enjoy this little joke from an interview I did with Philip Glass. He was a real gentleman and is an amazing person!
Real Audio file

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's popping up everywhere

Ok, not EVERYwhere, but you is a busy time of year, and this is good for a post!

Four jobs you've had in your life: Violin teacher, Cigar salesman, Radio host, Music critic
Four movies you could [do] watch over and over: Empire Strikes Back, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Crash
Four places you've lived: Las Vegas, Dallas, Alexandria, Wichita
Four TV shows you love to watch: Gilmore Girls, Thirty Minute Meals, Simpsons, Alias
Four places you've been on vacation: NYC, LA, Omaha, Austin
Four websites you visit daily: NewMusicBox, ArtsJournal, CNN, GetFuzzy
Four of your favorite foods: Bacon-wrapped Scallops, Burger & Fries, Curry in a Hurry, London Broil
Four places you'd rather be: Beach, Bedroom, On a podium conducting, On stage with Anne-Sophie Mutter

Monday, December 19, 2005

News release

From the ASCAP website:
New York, December 15, 2005
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers presented the 38th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music this evening. The winning writers and publishers were honored at a special reception held at The Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.
Over the years, tens of thousands of dollars have been distributed in cash prizes to winning authors, journalists and broadcast producers and personalities. The event featured performances by Broadway/cabaret vocalist KT Sullivan, composer/pianist Tania Leon, pianist Trudy Chan, and the Jazz Museum in Harlem Quartet, led by Loren Schoenberg. All the music related to the winning books and articles.
The ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award honored two radio programs: 20/20 Hearing, produced and hosted by John Clare, and Classical Discoveries, produced and hosted by Marvin Rosen.
Cited in the Television Broadcast category was No Direction Home: Bob Dylan. The documentary film directed by Martin Scorsese, was produced by: Martin Scorsese (Sikelia Productions), Producer; Susan Lacy (American Masters), Producer; Jeff Rosen (Grey Water Park Productions), Producer; Nigel Sinclair (Spitfire Pictures), Producer; Anthony Wall (BBC), Producer; Paul G. Allen & Jody Patton (Vulcan Productions), Executive Producers, and edited by David Tedeschi.
The ASCAP Deems Taylor Internet Award honored the contemporary classical music portal, Sequenza21 (, edited by Jerry Bowles.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005


The Las Vegas Weekly (and others) have called me a "bon vivant" of sorts, so it was fun to slip in here and grab some soup and salad - and it wasn't far away from my hotel.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


"Nothing is as real as a dream.
Because the dream is within you,
no one can take it away."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another proverb

"Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow wood.
Only today the fire shines brightly."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Proverb from my roots

"May you have warmth in your igloo,

oil in your lamp,

and peace in your heart."

- Inuit proverb

Monday, December 12, 2005

Warner Bros and Sister 4tet

Caught a wonderful performance of the Jupiter Chamber Players in NYC today.
Alessio Bax, piano was joined by violinist Xiao Dong Wang and my friend Wendy Warner, cello in Suk and Rachmaninoff trios.

As you can see I'm still mastering my new camera!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Composer Tour

Dead Composers in NYC 2005!

So while walking around on my most recent trip to New York City I noticed two signs (in different parts of town) but was glad I not only stopped but also had my camera handy.
From west 57th street:

And from the village on 11th Street:

Many moons ago I remember seeing New York residences of Bartok and Copland but it was sweet just to bump into these unexpectedly.

Preview - Inside and Out

Here's where this year's Deems Taylor Awards are being presented.

And a view from the second floor, looking over Columbus Circle and Central Park.

Rose Hall is actually on the fifth floor. More pictures after Thursday!

Friday, December 09, 2005


"Music gets its eternal beauty from an ideal balance of emotion and intellect."
- Sir Andrzej Panufnik

Living in perfect Panufnik musical moments

People often look baffled when I reply "Panufnik" when they ask me who is my favorite composer. Depending on the situation, I explain quickly or more in depth, that Andrzej Panufnik is not only my favorite but one of the most talented composers of the 20th Century.

Let's hear some of the last movement of Panufnik's Violin Concerto. This excerpt shows the symetry of Panufnik - the orchestra slows down as the solo violin plays the melody and then returns, speeding up. (listen first to the melody, then go back and listen for the "clicks" (col legno - literally with the wood of the bow) as they slow down, the solo part continues, then the clicks come back in, speeding up.)
MP4 file
A perfect polacca.

Next is the Hommage a Chopin, in his arrangement for Flute and strings. We begin with the second movement and a funny half step passage (which is hidden by them in different octaves - highly original!) and the return of the melody (a folk tune near the village where Chopin was born.)
MP4 file
Original and very thoughtful.

Next the third movement is very quiet and sparse. First the flute takes the melody, then takes on the accompaniment. We'll hear the last phrase of the melody and then the first phrase of the accompaniment.
MP4 file
Lyric and linear.

Finally, Panufnik's brillant Concerto Festivo - written for the London Symphony. This is one of my all time favorite works. You are getting just a sample here, I encourage you to seek out the entire piece (score and recording!)
MP4 file
Brassy and classy!

After the fanfare and joyous music comes a much softer section. This is the most sublime music I know. The strings are linked with percussion to the woodwinds. The effect builds and grows.
MP4 file
Drifting and uplifting.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Amazing Maze of Mays

Enjoy some musical moments from my friend and mentor, Walter Mays.

We begin with his Rhapsody for Bassoon:
Here is a version for Bassoon and piano
MP4 file

Here is the same passage with Bassoon and chamber orchestra
MP4 file
Haunting and mysterious!

Next, the award winning Dreamcatcher, for wind ensemble.
A passage from the end, almost Debussy-ian.
MP4 file
Impressionistic and dreamy.

Finally, two passages from the horn and piano piece, Dialogues.
First an excellent passage of quarter tones.
MP4 file

Finally, a finale that is stunning.
MP4 file
Dramatic and cinematic.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go
to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91)
(Soon to be celebrated in January 2006 for his 250th birthday)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Living "Fiddle Faddle" in a moment

Close to my heart is the violin, and so we will visit lots of concerti for my instrument. Here are four examples to check out and cherish. I get excited just writing about them and preparing this. So much for getting anything else done tonight, I'm going to go listen to all of these now!
I hope you too, will look these up.

Felix Mendelssohn wrote a concerto that became a standard in the Romantic repertory, for violinists and composers. Listen to this passage with Yehudi Menuhin and you'll hear why!
MP4 file

Double stops, octaves and schmalz.

Johannes Brahms one up'd ol' Felix. This return to the orchestra at the end of the cadenza is charmingly played by Itzhak Perlman.
MP4 file

Ah, trills and thrills.

Bela Bartok wrote a violin concerto (1938) and had it published. What he didn't tell anyone is that he wrote another one before that (1908) and gave it to the woman, Stefi Geyer, he was in love with, who did not return his love. She kept the score and told no one about it. It was discovered in her belongings after her death. This passage with David Oistrakh happens after a huge moment with the orchestra.
MP4 file

Long, lost and lush!

The best for last? Well for today, Beethoven's Violin Concerto is the granddaddy of romantic concerti and is the GOLD standard. Viktoria Mullova certainly has a lot to say about it in her latest version - in this first movement passage leading up to a wild tutti.
MP4 file

Vivacious Viktoria creates tension up to a joyous outcome.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Living (a lifetime) in a moment 2

Today we have three examples from two pieces.
First, Dawn Upshaw singin' Canteloube - Songs of the Auvergne - Begere
MP4 file
Brillant orchestration and charming singing. Makes me smile every time.

Second, listen especially to the keyboard in Astor Piazzolla's Milonga in re.
MP4 file
Fun, sexy rhythm. For a "sad song" south of the border, this packs lots of passion to say the least.

And another section of the Milonga in re, this time, the violin has the fun part!
MP4 file
Gidon Kremer brings alot to this. And it is a blast to play it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Living (a lifetime) in a moment

Music is powerful. It is special. And music is always something that I want to share. The beauty of music, as I was reminded from listening recently to an interview I had done with a composer (Eric Ewazen) in live performance, is that the music changes each time. Despite that there are specific written (in concrete? not to be confused with music concrete) notes, musicians interpret them in many ways.

I also have a strong belief and feeling that the moments and memories we cherish can be found in music. From the cheesiness from "Star Trek: Insurrection" (where the lovely alien stops time with Jean-Luc) to an anecdote told to me by a teacher where an old composer/conductor held a particular chord in a performance of a symphony because "he thought it was so beautiful" that he would "never hear it or experience it again", I too, sincerely believe that you can "live" in a moment of music.

So from time to time, I'm going to share with you my ideas of perfect musical moments - and hope you'll embrace them and live with them as I do.
I have three examples today that touch my heart.

The first is from Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, second movement.
MP4 file
These chords (and the 2 phrases before this) are the essence of romance and sexiness to me.

The other two selections are of chamber music, two string quartets that I hold in very high regard. We'll start (and we will return to other passages in the future!) with Witold Lutoslawski's String Quartet from 1965.
MP4 file
This is a silly section for a serious piece of music.
(we WILL return to it in the future!)

And finally, for today, Harbor Music by Austin-based NY composer Dan Welcher. It is the second string quartet that Dan wrote.
MP4 file
This melodic section speaks well of Dan, and of his gentle soul.
(another 4tet that we will return to, wait til you hear the harbor bells and seagulls!)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Concert Talk

I'm entertaining before the Brass and Organ Spectacular this evening for Gretna Music.
It should be good fun, with audio clips from composers and some musical insights.
The concert features the American Brass Quintet

and organist Timothy Brumfield.

The concert is in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center at Elizabethtown College at 7:30 pm. Concert Talk is one hour before at 6:30 pm.
See you there!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Holiday Selection

Enjoy this from the Las Vegas Brass Band - I recorded them last year:
Baby it's cold outside, Frank Loesser, arranged by Tom Wright; conducted by Chuck Jackson. It features Pete Cooper & Kellie Paul singing, and Tom Wright, trumpet.
Real Audio file (3:51)

Here's an mp3 file as well.

Lyrics by Bing Crosby

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
well Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

C'mon baby

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

Baby it's cold outside

Brr its cold….
It's cold out there