DR. PT. NARASIMHALU VADAVATI’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED AS ARTIST’S DAY.
21, 2021, at Raichur, Karnataka, and
the residential place of Panditji. The
chief guest of the function, educator
and eminent writer Professor K.E.
Radhakrishna, expressed that Artist’s
Day honors all artists while celebrating
the birthday of Panditji. Eminent writer
Basavaraja Bhagavathi, another guest at
the function, heartily supported this view.
The program was inaugurated with the
lighting of the lamp by the 108 Savira
Devaru Samsthana Kille Bruhanmata Sri. Shanthamalla Shivacharya Maha Swamy. While being celebrated, Pt. Vadavatiji remarked that all achievements can be
Hindustani musical performance at Artist’s Day celebration
reached when Guru (the teacher) blesses with his heart. Hence, the student must believe in him with utmost dedication.
Professor Pramod Katti of Agriculture University, Raichur, felt that the present generation is lucky to have witnessed such an artist enthralling the audience during concerts held everywhere. Panditji Vadavati has devoted and dedicated his
life to the cause of bringing out all the vocal nuances of Hindustani music on the clarinet. In recognition of his merit, he was invited to represent India during ClarinetFest® 2011. Panditji`s name is included among the list of 20th-century achievers by Cambridge University. He is the ICA country chair for India. Panditji and his wife, Smt. Shivamma Vadavati, were both felicitated at this event. Smt. Vadavati Sharada Bharat, Smt. Saraswati Rajashekar, Vadavati Thejashree Bharath, Vadavati Shreyankitha Bharath and Sai Sanjana presented a Hindustani classical vocal concert. The Secretary, Bharath Samskruthika, Kala Kendra, Mr. Yoga Raveesh Bharath K., and others shared the stage on the occasion.
IN MEMORIAM: MUSTAFA KANDIRALI
by Boja Kragulj
As a vast borderland between East and West, in Turkey the clarinet is the voice
of an entire nation. When the Ottoman Empire formally disbanded with the founding of Turkey in 1923, President Atatürk was eager to establish what
Turkish music was, and the clarinet quickly became a defining element. After a generation of clarinetists like Ibrahim Efendi and Şükrü Tunar began the
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tradition, musicians like Mustafa Kandıralı
(1930–2020) launched Turkish clarinet
performance to new national heights. It
truly became the voice of a nation because
of musicians like Mustafa Kandıralı.
Born on July 10, 1930, in the
northwestern Turkish province of Kocali’s
Kandıra district, a talented Kandıralı
(original surname Kadıoğlu) walked
to Istanbul on foot at 12 years of age,
alone, to have a shot at hearing the radio
broadcasts live and performing. With only
basic training at a local community music
center in his hometown and the guiding
advice of his father who was an amateur
clarinetist, Kandıralı made his way.
Upon arrival in Istanbul, Mustafa lived
in a small hotel in the then-undeveloped
Taksim area. He earned wages through
various tasks and performances at weddings, then increasingly at larger venues in casinos and clubs. Throughout his youth, he had access to Turkish Radio (TRT) broadcasts where the clarinet was newly presented as a Turkish instrument. Because formal Ottoman traditions were banned, including Ottoman instrumentation, the fact that the clarinet was a new voice in the country (not part of formal Ottoman ensembles) allowed it to be celebrated and revered as uniquely Turkish. An energy and pride developed around founding-father Atatürk’s declaration of what was Turkish. It was this energy and national pride that clarinetist Mustafa Kandıralı was born into and carried fiercely forward.
Continuing to learn by ear with his radio, Kandıralı developed a fast career through dedication without much guidance. When Şükrü Tunar passed away in 1962, the 32-year-old Kandıralı was ready to expand the tradition of Turkish clarinet performance in a very serious way. The concerts and tours he presented from the 1960s onward brought him fame at home and abroad. He is one of the first names that comes to mind when the clarinet is mentioned in Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.
Unlike Tunar, who was a composer and performed exclusively Turkish melodies that maintained strict modal rules, Kandıralı’s style began to merge traditional modal tunes with Turkish dance music
Serkan Çağrı and Mustafa Kandirali
and Roma traditions, as well as harmonic and melodic norms from the West. His shows were colorful and visually engaging, and he was ideally primed to represent the evolving tradition of clarinet performance in the fast-developing, new world of Turkish radio and television broadcasting.
Serkan Çağrı reports listening to Mustafa on every holiday as a family tradition through television broadcasts, much like the variety hours presented by Benny Goodman in the U.S. For many of today’s Turkish clarinetists, Mustafa was their introduction to the instrument: his television appearances and concert touring were oddly similar to that of Benny Goodman in years immediately prior. In fact, Goodman’s tours of the USSR and Europe in the 1960s were widely broadcast and accessible to Kandıralı. Personal stories from Mustafa indicate his strong interest in jazz and especially in Goodman’s career. When Goodman and Louis Armstrong broke ties and took their tours separately to the USSR and Turkey, Kandıralı had the fortune of performing with Louis Armstrong locally, a dream come true.
After these experiences and new connections, Kandıralı began to increasingly incorporate jazz riffs and melodies inside his Turkish
improvisations. By the mid-1970s he had established a unique style that was an amalgamation of Turkish, Western and jazz musical languages. This propelled the clarinet from folk tradition to pop-star status as it became an instrument capable of crossing the boundary between Eastern musical modes and Western harmony. Kandıralı bridged the gap not only between genres but between the various factions and identities that struggled to be a Turkish whole. He did it not with a pen or even a sword, but with a clarinet.
It is Kandıralı’s unique career that has allowed the clarinet and clarinetists in Turkey to enjoy high status and visibility at the front of the stage and in television programming. Serkan Çağrı, Hüsnü Şenlendirici and most notably Mustafa’s nephew Turkan Kandıralı all cite his eclectic style as the inspiration for their successful careers. This high level of influence led Süleyman Demirel, president of Turkey from 1993 to 2000, to offer Kandıralı the rare title of “state artist.” Kandıralı declined the award, saying he was not an artist of the state but an “artist of the people.” While he later expressed regret for turning down the honor, it tells the story of who Mustafa Kandıralı was as a musician and what he felt for the clarinet, an instrument that was the
JUNE 2021 THE CLARINET | 3
grassroots of the new Turkish nation, an instrument of the people. He would later move on to represent Turkey nationally and give solo performances for President Ronald Reagan and Hafez Assad, leader of Syria.
Mustafa Kandıralı passed away on December 27, 2020, leaving behind an enormous legacy that forms the bedrock
of Turkish clarinet performance today. His four daughters (Kismet, Mukadder, Jale and Nejla) mourn the passing of their father but celebrate the legacy he leaves for clarinetists worldwide. His
nephew Turkan Kandıralı, also a talented and respected clarinetist, advances the family name and musical tradition as a clarinetist, and Mustafa’s daughter Kismet extends her father’s talent as a celebrated Turkish singer. Toward the end of his life, Kandıralı entreated young clarinetists to carry forward the tradition he had helped to establish. His recordings and performances are now widely distributed on international streaming platforms, giving the world access to a unique style of performance that is the Turkish clarinet. The author thanks Emre Erol, Serkan
Çağrı, Turkan Kandıralı and the family of Mustafa Kandıralı for their time and conversation as this article was prepared.
Kragulj, Boja. “The Clarinet as a Defining Instrument of Turkish Musical
Culture.” The Clarinet Vol. 39/3 (June 2012), pp. 59-62.
_____. “The Turkish Clarinet: Its History, an Exemplification of its Practice by Serkan Çagri, and a Single Case Study.” D.M.A. diss. University of North Carolina, 2011.
REMEMBERING BILL BRANNEN by Catherine Hudgins
We have lost a giant in the clarinet
world. William “Bill” Brannen passed
away November 24, 2020, in Evanston,
Illinois. The renowned clarinet repair
technician, a true artisan, was famous for
his perfectionism, contributing to the
artistry of many famous clarinetists, whose
photographs lined the walls of his repair
shop. It is fitting that his wife of 45 years
and repair partner Linda is in these photos,
as she was always at his side, having done
half of the repair work since 1975. Born
in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1937, Bill
moved to Chicago in 1960 to accept an
instrument repair position at a music store. He later worked for legendary mouthpiece maker Frank Kaspar. Kaspar told anyone who would listen that Bill was the finest mechanic he’d ever met. Learning the craft as he went by repairing the clarinets of Chicago Symphony musicians, he soon developed a reputation as one who could perform very fine work. He started Brannen Woodwinds in Chicago in 1967, moving his shop to Evanston in 1970. The many visitors from all over the world who came to Evanston to have their clarinets “Brannenized” also benefited from hearing Bill’s stories about orchestral performances, the sounds of great clarinetists who had tested their clarinets there, and his vast knowledge about all things clarinet. As Bill put it, “music has given me so much.” He will be greatly missed.
Bill and Linda Brannen
* * * * *
The following are excerpts from memories of those who knew Bill Brannen. Please see The Clarinet Online (www.clarinet.org/ TCO) for the full remembrances.
When I purchased my first professional clarinet as a freshman at Indiana University, my teacher advised me to send it to Bill Brannen for setup. Twice a year for the next four decades Bill and Linda made my clarinets and especially my basses play better than new. As the years passed, I came to look forward to seeing the Brannens as much as having my instruments repaired. I miss the prospect of further visits with both
Bill and Linda Brannen, both professionally and personally.
– Ronald Aufmann, Bass Clarinet, Cincinnati Symphony
Not only was Bill Brannen a genius at woodwind repair, but he was also a seemingly bottomless source of stories about so many great woodwind players through the decades. From the time I first met him in the early ’70s when he sold me two of my favorite instruments, through the many years during which he and Linda kept those and my other clarinets in top form, Bill was not only a true craftsman, but a good friend. We will all miss Bill,
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KEY CHANGES AND CLOSING CHORDS
Compiled by Emily Kerski
Davis Hampton won the principal bass clarinet audition for the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” Sammy Lesnick won the clarinet audition for the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”
Anthony McGill was appointed to the William R. and Hyunah Yu Brody Distinguished Chair at the Curtis Institute of Music.
Renowned innovator of woodwind equipment Charles Bay (1931-2021) passed away on February 19, 2021, at the age of 90. A tribute will appear in an upcoming issue.
Omar Henderson, “the Doctor” in Doctor’s Products, passed away on March 15, 2021. He was a chemist at the CDC, amateur clarinetist and entrepreneur/inventor who was a regular exhibitor at clarinet events for many years.
Information in this column is gathered from the Clarinet Jobs Facebook Group and submissions to email@example.com.
craftsman extraordinaire, a true character, and a generous human being.
– Linda Baker, Bass Clarinet/Acting Co-Principal Clarinet, Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago
I first met Bill in 1980, during my first season with the CSO. I had had work done by Hans Moennig during my college years in Philadelphia, and on my first job in Arizona the great Roy Seaman, who had been head of the repair shop that Schirmer used to have in New York City, had maintained my instruments. Yet I found Bill was the best at understanding the instrument, creating his own tools to fix chronic problems, and analyzing any issue on any clarinet. Over my 40 years with the CSO, Bill worked on many clarinets (Eb, Bb, A, C, basset A), my basset horn, and many bass clarinets. I can truly say he made every day of my career easier. Several times in all those years I took an instrument back just so he could see it. Seven, eight, however many years after he had initially set up an instrument it was still feeling great, and working fine.
Bill could be a curmudgeon, and had extremely strong views on some of our favorite instrument companies, but we had wide-ranging discussions, including baseball, history and of course our mutual fascination with what makes a clarinet work better.
– J. Lawrie Bloom, Bass Clarinet, Chicago Symphony, ret.
Bill was pivotal in moving clarinet and woodwind performance along starting in 1960 when he came to Chicago. It was also not just the clarinet: he and Ray Still caused the Lorée oboe makers to make major changes to their oboe manufacturing. He joins the woodwind players of the last century in helping to move woodwind playing to where it is today.
– Linda Brannen
When you wanted a clarinet with keywork that was exceptionally well balanced, rock solid stability in the tenon connections, resonance from every tone hole, pads that were all at the right height, and everything very reliable, then you hoped that Bill and Linda Brannen would agree to service your instruments.
With Bill we all had the connection to the “old school.” He loved classical music
and I think that drove him to be really good at his craft of setting up instruments so they played exceedingly well, and then he would be somewhat stern with his customers about actually caring for those instruments.
If I am truthful, I have to acknowledge that some of my career success is due to the relentless excellence of Bill Brannen.
– William Hudgins, Principal Clarinet, Boston Symphony
I met Bill and Linda in the fall of 1976. I remember one repair of a crack through a tone hole. Bill took the upper joint, without ceremony stripped it of keys, and then put it in the maw of this huge Bridgeport milling machine. Without stopping the conversation, he proceeded to drill a huge hole in my clarinet! The conversation became very one-sided as he
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Bill and Linda Brannen
cut a piece of Delrin to precisely fit the hole, drill it, and then using a pad cup tool, shaped the top so I could not tell
anything had been done to the instrument – in less time than it took me to park in the crowded streets of Evanston.
In the intervening years, I have seen some truly gifted makers and repair people in New England. None of them could work with the cool efficiency and high quality the Brannens could produce. If it was scheduled to return on Friday, I knew that it would arrive, and I could take it straight to rehearsal, because it would be perfect. In a world where many look for the next shiny new thing, here were two
people focused on making the same task better each time it was performed.
– Thomas Parchman, Principal Clarinet, Portland Symphony; Bass Clarinet, Rhode Island Philharmonic
I first met Mr. William Brannen in the summer of 1969 after my freshman year of undergraduate school. His skill and artistry were beyond anything I had imagined, but I was truly crushed when he expressed his disappointment in how I wasn’t taking care of my instrument. Mr. Brannen took some time to show me some basic skills on keeping my clarinet clean and oiled. I thought he would
never work on my clarinet again but the following summer he agreed to rebuild my instrument. I was thrilled and this began a 50-year relationship and friendship with Bill and Linda Brannen. During my tenure at the University of Tennessee, the vast majority of my students played on “Brannenized” clarinets which ultimately made my job easier and more enjoyable.
– Gary Sperl, Principal Clarinet,
I met Bill and Linda in the early ’70s. My clarinet needed to have a pad replaced, and I was told there was a clarinet repair shop on Hinman in Evanston. I walked in, big as life, and asked Bill about replacing a pad. He went on a rampage about how they look after the entire instrument, not just one pad! He took me into the side room, sat me down, made me clean the entire clarinet in front of him, then he replaced the pad as well as a couple of other things, charged me $100, and sent me off!
For whatever reason I came back to these artists at least twice a year, every year until they were done last year. I will miss the conversations we had about music, teaching, repair, and how he made the tools he had.
– Robert Spring, clarinet soloist and Arizona State University clarinet professor
Bill and Linda gave me a musical home from a young age and made sure I learned the important lessons needed to progress in my musical career. If you ever had the opportunity to have Bill work on your instrument you know what an immense loss this is to our clarinet family.
– Natalie Szabo, Chicago State University clarinet professor
The Brannens did far more than repair our instruments. They were collaborators in our musical careers. From 1969 to 2020, Bill and Linda Brannen made sure all of my clarinets played to their potential and beyond. On Bill’s shoulders rested the legacy of Arthur Goldbeck and Frank Kaspar. He learned their methods and moved forward, bringing the art of woodwind repair to newer and higher levels. Thank you, Bill. Rest (and repair) in peace.
– David Tuttle, freelance Chicago clarinetist
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