Dr. Jerry Rife, professor of Music and chair of the Fine Arts Department, recently performed at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2012 at the University of Nebraska.
The performance was part of a five-day conference of more than 60 concerts, master classes, and lectures by some of the finest clarinetists of the day.
Rife performed in recital on the basset horn in a basset horn trio with his clarinet instructor, Dr. Frank Sidorfsky of Kansas State University, and Chris Hill, principal clarinetist in the South Dakota Symphony. The recital included original basset horn compositions by Mozart, Anton Stadler and Georg Druschetzky.
Rife formed The Manhattan Basset Horn Trio this spring expressly to play at this conference. Audience members included Larry Combs, formerly principal clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony, and Ricardo Morales, current principal clarinetist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
“It was especially exciting to play for an audience of 450 professional and student clarinetists, and to perform with my undergraduate and master’s-level clarinet professor, Frank Sidorsky, who is a recognized master in basset horn literature and performance,” Rife said. “We had a series of rehearsals at Kansas State University this summer in preparation for our debut.”
Dr. Rife’s Ubel basset horn was constructed in East Berlin before World War II and played for many years in the Berlin Philharmonic. The basset horn is a clarinet pitched in “F” with extension keys down to low “C.” It was the preferred member of the clarinet family by many classical composers including Mozart, and has enjoyed a resurgence in 20th- and 21st-century compositions.