FRANK KOWALSKY, the recently retired Joseph A. White Professor of Clarinet at Florida State University, has performed as principal clarinetist with orchestras throughout the United States, including the Naples Philharmonic, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and the Northwood Orchestra. He has also been a member of the United States Marine Band, the Colorado Philharmonic, and the Rochester Philharmonic.
Recent activities include a concert series as principal clarinet with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, a season as principal clarinetist with the Bellingham Festival, a tour to Sweden as guest soloist with the Florida State Winds, recital appearances in London and Manchester, UK, concerts and recording sessions in Prague, concerto and chamber appearances in Spain, and several nation-wide tours as a member of the Trio Con Brio. His introduction of Scott McAllister’s “X—Concerto for Clarinet” to the clarinet community in 1998 led to the commissioning of McAllister’s concerto, “Black Dog”, which he premiered at Florida State University in 2003. For twenty years he served as music director for the Tallahassee Ballet’s annual concert “Evening of Music and Dance”, working closely with choreographers and dancers. In August 2012 he was awarded the Honorary Member Award, the highest distinction from the International Clarinet Association.
His activities as a chamber musician have been extensive. He has played at Music At Gretna, The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, and, from 1995 to 2010, as a regular member of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, both in the summers and in the “Winter Interlude”.
A member of the faculty at the Interlochen Arts Academy for ten years, he joined the faculty at Florida State University in 1984 and retired in 2013. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Catholic University of America.
Jeffrey Brooks has served as Adjunct Lecturer of Clarinet at Central Washington University and Walla Walla University and was the sabbatical replacement for FSU Clarinet Professor Dr. Debra Bish for the spring 2012 semester. In addition, Jeff was the sabbatical replacement at Ohio University during the Spring of 2014. Prior to pursuing a Doctorate in Music at FSU, Jeff received his BA from CWU and MM from FSU and will complete his Doctorate in the very near future.
While completing a twelve-year tenure as Principal Clarinetist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Jeff was very active as a freelance musician in the northwest and has performed with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Opera, as well as the Tacoma and Olympia symphony orchestras to mention a few. He has had nearly twenty concerto appearances and is often heard as a recitalist and jazz performer/composer.
As a music entrepreneur, Jeff owns a clarinet repair business, has produced three jazz albums, which are available on iTunes, and is currently developing “ClarinetMonsteR”, a classical and jazz crossover concert for Jazz Quartet and Symphony Orchestra. “ClarinetMonsteR” was premiered with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra on March 15, 2014! Jeff's teachers include Frank Kowalsky, Deborah Bish, Eddie Daniels, Laurie DeLuca, Chip Phillips, and Joseph Brooks.
Joseph Brooks is a very active and diverse woodwind performer. Spanning his career of nearly 40 years he has held principal chairs and has been a featured soloist on the clarinet, oboe, and saxophone. As a guest artist and clinician he has frequented college and university campuses throughout the United States. He has served as the solo clarinetist with the United States Continental Army Band, principal clarinet and featured soloist with the Rome Festival Orchestra and has been heard in recital at the International Clarinet Convention. In addition to his credits as a classical performer, Professor Brooks is also active as a jazz artist.
Mr. Brooks has been on the faculty at Walla Walla University, Whitman College, Western Kentucky University, and is presently the Professor of Clarinet at Central Washington University. He performs regularly with the Central Wind Quintet, The Joe Brooks Quartet, and is often heard in recital as a clarinetist and as a classical saxophonist. He takes special pleasure in performing as often as is possible with his son, Jeffrey Brooks.
Clarinetist Peggy Dees has performed with ensembles throughout the United States, China, and Russia, and has taught at universities across America. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, at the age of 21, Dees won a position as clarinetist with the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC. Dr. Dees received her DMA in Clarinet Performance from Florida State University, where her doctoral thesis examined the teaching and learning styles of prominent clarinet teachers throughout the United States. Her articles on teaching regularly appear in The Clarinet. Her primary teachers include Frank Kowalsky, Richard MacDowell, Robert Marcellus and John Weigand. She has also worked with Larry Combs, Russ Dagon, Stanley Hasty, John Mohler, Mark Nuccio, Fred Ormand, and Gregory Smith. Currently she teaches at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA.
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