Tasmanian Connection

The Mercury, Tasmania, Australia – May 12, 2011
by Penny Thow

Hong Kong Philharmonic principal clarinet player Andrew Simon is expected to blow the audience away with his musicianship at the Visiting Artist Series concert at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music on Monday. Simon studied at the Juilliard School in New York and debuted at the Weill Centre in the Carnegie Recital Hall complex after winning the Artists International Young Musicians Auditions Clarinet Award. He then went on to establish an international career, appearing as a soloist and lecturer throughout Europe, Asia, and America.

While it is his first visit to Hobart, Simon has a number of connections with the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music. He studied with the same teacher at Juilliard as academic programs and classical music director Heather Monkhouse and also performed in the Hong Kong Philharmonic with chamber music lecturer and acting convener of strings Jeremy Williams, and is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with them.

At the conservatorium Simon will perform with Hong Kong pianist Warren Lee and they will join with Williams for the Mozart Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano in E Flat. “It’s pretty amazing that we were all born in different continents and end up performing together in a fourth continent,” Simon said. “The trio is also known as the Kegelstatt Trio, which is a reference to bowling or skittles, and you can almost hear the pins dropping at the beginning of the music. It also shows Mozart’s relationship to the clarinet and how much clarinetists owe him. Until Mozart, it was pretty much a background instrument of the orchestra. Mozart began replacing the oboe with the clarinet in later symphonies. He also wrote some unbelievable masterworks for clarinetist Anton Stadler, including this piece. It was a big turning point and changed the whole profile of the clarinet.”

The program will include a performance of Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsody.

“It is an impressionistic work for clarinet and piano which he later transcribed for clarinet and orchestra,” Simon said. “Another work I’ll be playing that I’m very excited about is Carnyx by contemporary Romanian composer Serban Nichifor.  We communicated after I played it at Carnegie then lost touch after the revolution but every time I played it I would mention how concerned I was about what had happened to him. A local billionaire hired a private detective to track him down and gave me his phone number. Since then Serban has added another movement and dedicated the whole work to me.”

The Andrew Simon concert will be at the Conservatorium Recital Hall on Monday at 6pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $15 concession.

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