Woodwind Quintet – “Windscape” members, Tara Helen O’Connor, Randall Ellis, Alan R. Kay, David Jolley and Frank Morelli joined us for a lively conversations about their collaboration for over two decades of performing. We talked about their start, their first program and how they became associated with the Manhattan School of Music. Known for their thematic programing, they discuss how they; create arrangements, the process in road testing their new arrangements, finding new music, create programs and how to talk to an audience. We also spent time on the mundane logistics of getting five busy people together for rehearsals and how they have learned to rehearse efficiently. Throughout our conversation they focused on the importance of offering great music to audiences and focusing on the audience’s experience. From our conversation you can hear how much “joy” they have working together and their mutual esteem as colleagues allow them to work together so effectively.
Dean LeBlanc, associate clarinetist at the Metropolitan Opera and freelancer joined us for a lively conversation about so many aspects of clarinet playing. We talked about the various instruments he plays, mouthpieces, C-clarinets, reeds, bells, playing in a section, playing in varying acoustics, barrels, freelancing on Broadway, adjusting to various acoustics and how he started his freelance career.
Instrument case designer and maker, Howard Wiseman talked with Kevin Chavez during the summer 2014-Double Reed Conference in New York. Howard made his first case when he was 15 years old as a result of having difficulties carrying his heavy bassoon. The first order for a case was from his bassoon teacher, which lead to more requests for cases. While studying for a performance bassoon career, he continued making cases. Howard today continues to play and teach bassoon along side of his case and sports coaching businesses. Producing only bassoon cases for the first 13 years, he later branched out to other instruments and multiple instruments. A lifetime guarantee is offered with all his cases and he never compromising on quality. Known for his innovation, he is always looking towards new designs and projects following his passion for creating and building things.
Nancy Huang, owner of RDG Woodwinds talked with Kevin during the 2014 International Double Reed Conference. Nancy tells the story as to how she became a proprietor of RDG Woodwinds after realizing that performing would not be her primary career path. She talks about; her company, how she has developed her business in offering wide selections, working with various artists and teachers, selecting instruments, instrument repair, stocking inventory, selling used instruments and RDG’s support to artists and students.
Flutist, ethnic flutist, and woodwind doubler, Tereasa Payne shares her experience as a substitute for the Lion King and how she manages the show’s 13 world flutes, each character gets a specific sound. She talks about how she found her way to learning world flutes and how her obsession about practicing helped her to learn so many instruments. Tereasa shares the challenges of how she organizes the thirteen flutes for the show and how to grab the appropriate instrument at the right time so they will be warmed up in time. Maintenance of the flute due to climate changes is always a challenge, she tells how she deals with servicing and preventive maintenance. Starting off as an orchestral flutist, she started woodwind doubling as a hobby for fun as a change from classical. Balancing all the instruments and being good at all the instruments has given her a broader choice of performance opportunities and repertoire and her skills at knowing how to practice allowed her to maintain her skills on her principal instrument but add other instruments to her mastery. Moving from Florida to New York City, she and her husband found their path easy, since they had many contacts in the city from their time in Florida and finding themselves to Broadway. Changing her path from an orchestral flutist to an “instrument junky” has given her an exciting, diverse and challenging career. Traveling with all the instruments has proven to be a challenge and Tereasa shares how she manages this through airports.
Chris Reza, substitute Broadway multiple woodwind player, through his deliberate efforts in networking and his ability to play multiple instruments and styles, forged his own path to Broadway in less than a year after arriving in NYC! He learned very quickly how to be successful in a tough business. We talk about his process of networking, getting hired, practicing/learning, choosing instruments, time management skills, juggling many shows, and the struggle in learning new instruments. He shares his various experiences of Broadway playing, the hours, arrangement of the orchestra in a pit or off stage, click tracks, using headphones, being a substitute Broadway musician, getting that one show permanent position and the secrets to his success.