Inspirations and Influences: Popular Composition Trends in the Contemporary Clarinet Repertoire (1996-2010)

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Clarinetists have seen a large increase in the diversity of styles and influences available for performance in the concert hall since 1996. Being an instrument that easily adapts to a wide range of musical styles, the clarinet is ideal for composers to utilize as they explore exciting new ways to create unique programmable works. From the incorporation of the more traditional folk sounds found in Jewish folk music to the assimilation of electronic distortion and classic rock, new repertoire for the clarinet showcases the instrument’s great range, flexibility, and versatility. The future can only hold more opportunities for fantastic new compositions in the same vein as composers become even more familiar with the possibilities available when writing for the clarinet.

This dissertation explores popular composition trends in the contemporary clarinet repertoire through three thematic recital programs. The first contains works that integrate the Jewish folk music style of Klezmer; the second consists of programmatic works that all seek to represent a specific source of inspiration; and the third showcases works that integrate a variety of styles of American popular music.

The works performed and discussed in this dissertation are the following: Samuel Adler - Cantos XIV – A Klezmer Fantasy; Ronn Yedidia - Impromptu, Nocturne, and World Dance; Ruth Schonthal - Bells of Sarajevo; Dana Wilson - Liquid Ebony; Christopher Rouse - Compline; Richard Toensing - Children of Light; Paul Moravec - Tempest Fantasy; John Adams - Gnarly Buttons; Anna Clyne - Rapture; and Scott McAllister - Black Dog.



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