USC Thornton alumnus James Zimmerman (BM ’04), principal clarinetist of the Nashville Symphony, recently published a video detailing production of the ensemble’s 2018 recording of a clarinet concerto by composer and faculty member Frank Ticheli. The previously-unrecorded work was included on the ensemble’s album of wind concertos, recorded under music director Giancarlo Guerrero, and released in February on the Naxos label.
Zimmerman previously performed Ticheli’s music as a member of the Pacific Symphony and the recording project originated when the composer visited Nashville for a performance of his Radiant Voices in 2015. Ticheli’s clarinet concerto features three movements, dedicated to George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein, respectively.
An American Elegy, an earlier work by Ticheli, composed in the aftermath of the Columbine school killings, was recently featured in a protest against gun violence organized by students at the Ohio state capitol. As described in The Marietta Times, the group of student musicians gathered to perform Ticheli’s piece 27 times in a row in acknowledgement of Columbine and 26 subsequent shootings.
“I’ve never played in an ensemble that had a particular message to convey, but music is particularly powerful for this form of communication,” said Marietta College band director Marshall Kimball. “It can convey emotions in a way no other medium can. It can express, though us, the grief the families feel after losing a child for this very preventable reason.”