Klarinet Archive - Posting 000509.txt from 1998/03
From: Neil Leupold <nleupold@-----.edu>
Subj: Re: College Choices...
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 13:46:52 -0500
On Sun, 8 Mar 1998, Shouryu Nohe wrote:
> Well, I don't know about the CS or BA stuff, but as far as music goes, my
> first choice would be Oberlin.
Can you give any reasons for your preference? The person who asked
the question indicated that he wishes to major in performance. My
philosophy when aspiring to excellence in a field is first to emulate
those who are already successful in that field. Studying with such a
person is an obvious course of action. Few could argue that Larry Combs
and John Bruce Yeh are not successful in the field of clarinet performance
as a career, and they are also reputed to be very good teachers. Another
good indicator with regard to one's prospects for success under a given
teacher is to look at the track record of that teacher's past students.
Have any of them landed jobs? Combs and Yeh have both produced players
who now play in orchestras across the country and around the world.
They're both highly active professional players in a major metropolitan
orchestra, and their students absorbed the benefit of their teachers'
vast experience and artistry.
This is no plug for Combs, Yeh, or DePaul University per se, but
more a question of how any teacher fulfills these criteria. The number
one reason to attend any given school as a performance major is the
private teacher. Unless things have changed (and they may very well
have), Lawrence McDonald is the private clarinet instructor at Oberlin.
Is he an active performer? Is it solo, or orchestral? Is he in an
orchestra? Have his past students been successful? Despite his fame
and commercial success, these are nagging questions for me with regard
to Richard Stoltzman, who now teaches at New England Conservatory. He's
never held an orchestral position in his life, which impugns his credi-
bility with respect to knowledge of orchestral music and style. If there
were somebody wishing to major in orchestral clarinet performance, I would
not recommend studying with Richard Stoltzman, despite his remarkable
talent and musicianship. How does Lawrence McDonald at Oberlin stack
up to these basic questions?