My Aunt Gives Me a Clarinet Lesson

or clarinet, percussion, and dancer/narrator (2001)

(duration ca. 12 minutes)

program note:

One summer years ago, I happened to glance at an issue of “American Scholar” left lying around by my editor wife. (By a long shot, this was not my usual summer reading material) A cover story about the “Ph.D. Squid” problem in American academia (!?!?) grabbed my attention and pulled me into the volume, where I stumbled upon this wonderful poem by Gregory Djanikian. Years later when Rebecca Rischin asked me to write a piece of chamber music for clarinet, the idea to incorporate this poem became irresistible.  Happily, Mr. Djanikian and Carnegie-Mellon University Press graciously granted permission to use his poem.

I am pleased to acknowledge the support of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship program in the creation of this work.  It is dedicated to all those who have ever attempted to bridge the chasm between their earliest dreams of virtuosity and the pathetic (but often humorous) reality of their first lessons — whether through hard work or flights of fancy.