Allan Rosenfeld, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet
What drew you to your instrument?
I literally fell in love with the sound of the clarinet when I was in elementary school. I would listen to all of my dad’s classical records, and anytime there was a clarinet solo I would ask my parents “what is that instrument, I want to play that!” All these years later, I’m still smitten by the sound.
What are the challenges and opportunities unique to your instrument?
I think the biggest challenge for me in my position in the CSO is the flexibility required to constantly switch from clarinet to bass clarinet, oftentimes in the same piece of music. You rarely have a chance to really sit back and get in a groove with one instrument. It requires a lot of practice time to keep in shape on two instruments.
Do you teach?
I love to teach. I’ve been teaching the clarinet for over 30 years, and in that
time I’ve enjoyed continually refining a pedagogical system that brings out the best in my students. There’s a certain thrill in seeing them consistently win auditions and place at the top in the All-State groups and Youth Orchestra. I’m particularly proud of those who have gone on to become successful professional musicians. In the end, though, What really makes me happy is to see my students mature into thoughtful, responsible adults.
Can you describe what you’re thinking and feeling right before a concert starts?
I sure hope this reed makes it through the whole concert.
What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened on stage?
In a concert quite a few years ago a former conductor carelessly let the conducting baton fly out of his hands during a particularly exciting musical climax. It landed in the midst of a shocked audience without causing any physical harm, other than perhaps bruising one musician’s ego. But boy did that make for a spectacular show!
What was been the highlight of your career with the Charlotte Symphony?
Probably soloing in front of the orchestra in the Concerto for Two Clarinets by Franz Krommer with my friend and colleague Gene Kavadlo.
If you weren’t a classical musician, what would you be doing?
I would be a glaciologist. I love mountains, and am fascinated by their geology. The experiments being done on the world’s glaciers is helping us understand the effects of global warming.
What are some of your non-musical interests or hobbies?
I’m really into hiking, backpacking, and alpine climbing. I do a lot around the North Carolina mountains, and usually take a big trip in the summer. A few years ago I did a 23 day solo backpacking trip of the entire John Muir Trail in California. I’ve also climbed a number of major peaks in Washington and Wyoming.