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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000680.txt from 2004/10

From: "dnleeson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Is Clarinet for Girly Boys Only?
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 16:38:44 -0400

Forest, are you aware that at one time, the principal clarinet of
the Houston Symphony was Arlene Alda? She is the wife of Alan
Alda, the TV actor who is also the son Robert Alda (who played
Gershwin in the film about his life). They had not yet married
when she was in Texas but after they did marry, she came back to
NY and worked as a clarinet teacher during the time that Alan was
getting his feet on the ground as an actor.

Now here is a story (that is supposed to be funny) about Alan's
father Robert Alda and clarinet music.

Arlene, two of her women friends who were excellent clarinetists,
and I were playing clarinet quartet music at her place in New
Jersey. Alan was in his study with his father going over some
issues of the M*A*S*H TV series. I think Alan and his father
worked a couple of those TV shows together.

Finally, we musicians stopped playing and got together for
sandwiches and coffee. I was seated next to Robert Alda. He was
very intrigued by the fact that I was the rose amongst the
thorns, so to speak, because the quartet was 75% women. And he
began to ask about which clarinet music was difficult.

The women of the quartet named a variety of works and finally I
said that "I always found the Rhapsody in Blue solo very
difficult." And then, without thinking, I asked him if he knew
the work.

He looked me right in the eye and said, "Know it??? I wrote

Dan Leeson

-----Original Message-----
From: Sue Raycraft []
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 1:25 PM
Subject: Re: [kl] Is Clarinet for Girly Boys Only?

> Most of the women in both the Dallas and the Ft. Worth
> mothers. So....many women (all most all of the ones I know
locally) who
> prevail at a professional level, are very able to do both, have
> and
> a career.
> Forest

Forest, I certainly did not mean to imply that women with
were *incapable* of becoming professional musicians, in fact
are very good at multi-tasking. We have plenty of mothers in our
symphony also. But if you were to sit down and make a list of the
most famous clarinetists of the past 150 years or so, you know it
is going to be predominately men.

I think you just like to argue. ;-)

I was originally responding to Ormond's question:

>I wonder if a 'cross-over' could be documented? More female
>clarinetists during the school years, more male clarinetists
during the
>professional years?

I think I agree with Dave Blumberg's answer.


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