T h e D e
s e r t's E d g e
Robert Spring, clarinet
The multi-faceted talents of J.B. Smith
and Robert Spring are available together offering a
variety of concert programs. Drawing from a rich
literature for the unusual combination of clarinet and
percussion, they have performed throughout North America
and Europe. In addition to their performances they are
available for clinics and masterclasses. Dr. Smith brings
to his educational sessions experience in world and
contemporary classical music. Dr. Spring offers insights
into advanced techniques for clarinet as well as basic
development of the student clarinetist.
Robert Spring and J. B. Smith have been performing together since 1989. They performed at the 1991, 1996, 2002 and 2004 ClarinetFest International Conventions and the 1994 Music Educators National Conference. They have performed at numerous US and Canadian Colleges and Universities including the University of North Texas, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, Florida State University, University of Miami, Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Ithaca College, Indiana University, the University of Texas, Rice University and Oberlin College. They have commissioned and premiered several works including Glenn Hackbarth's Points in the Sky, Norbert Goddaer's Sonata for Clarinet and Percussion which (both included on their CD At the Desert's Edge) and Edic Mandat's Three for Two.
Robert Spring has been described as "one of this country's most sensitive and talented clarinetists", Arizona Republic, "dazzled his audience...flawless technique", The Clarinet Magazine, and "a formidable soloist...played with great emotional life" Copenhagen, Denmark, Politiken. Spring's recording of Grawemeier Award winning composer Joan Tower's works for clarinet was described by The Clarinet Magazine as "truly outstanding....one would be hard pressed to find better performances of contemporary music....first rate music performed with the highest professional standards." The Instrumentalist Magazine says of his recording, "Dragon's Tongue", a CD of virtuoso music for clarinet and wind band, "His musicality and technique make this recording a must for every CD collection." Fanfare Magazine says of a new CD, "Tarantelle", music that the famous violinist Jascha Heifetz recorded on violin, being performed on clarinet, "This recording was meant to amaze and, man, it succeeds."
Spring attended the University of Michigan where he was awarded three degrees, including the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. His teachers included John Mohler, David Shifrin and Paul Shaller. Spring has performed as a recitalist or soloist with symphony orchestras and wind bands in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America, and has been heard in the United States on National Public Radio's, Performance Today. He frequently serves as clinician and adjudicator and teaches on the faculties of several summer music festivals. He has published numerous articles on multiple articulation and other contemporary clarinet techniques.
Spring, President of the International Clarinet Association from 1998-2000, has performed for the 1988, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 International Clarinet Association conventions. He hosted the 1995 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest at Arizona State University where he is presently Professor of Clarinet. Dr. Spring is also principal clarinet of the ProMusic Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, OH. He is a Buffet Artist, and plays the Buffet Greenline Clarinet exclusively.
Dr. J. B. Smith is Professor of Music and Coordinator of Percussion Studies in the School of Music at Arizona State University. He is director of the ASU Contemporary Percussion Ensemble. The group presented programs recently at the 2002 and 2006 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. As part of the Desert's Edge Percussion-Clarinet Duo with Dr. Robert Spring, Dr. Smith performed at the Music Educator's National Conference in 1994 and the 1991, 1995, 2002 and 2004 Clarinet Fest International Conferences. He served as principal percussionist with Ensemble 21, a contemporary music group under the direction of Arthur Weisberg, and as principal percussionist with The Daniel Lentz Group which performed at the Interlink Festival in Los Angeles, the Bang on a Can Festival in New York and the Festival Musica Visual in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. He has also recorded and performed with the internationally acclaimed Summit Brass and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded for Koch, Summit, Centaur, Rhizome Sketch, Fontec, Leo, Canyon Records and Whole>Sum Productions.
He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University where he studied with Dr. Larry Vanlandingham, his Master of Music in Percussion Performance and Literature degree from the University of Illinois where he studied with Prof. Thomas Siwe and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas where he studied with Dr. Robert Schietroma. Previously, Dr. Smith was on the music faculties of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas and Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. He has written articles for The Instrumentalist and Percussive Notes and served as president of the Arizona chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 1995, he hosted the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Phoenix.
Dr. Smith proudly endorses Pearl Drums, Adams Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals and Mike Balter Mallets.
Damn (1998) by John Mackey
Going Home, In Memoriam Peter Lewis
(1985) by Edward Miller
Oncoming Traffic (2005) by Michael Kocour
Corker for Clarinet and Percussion (1989) by Libby Larsen
Points in the Sky (1994) by Glenn Hackbarth
Three for Two (2001) by Eric Mandat
In Light of Three (1988) by J. B. Smith
Arcadia University-Wolfville, Nova Scotia
10 Steps to a Better Clarinet Section
(for educators, music education students as well as
younger age clarinetists)
Hand-Drumming and Rhythm Concepts
Concert and Masterclasses
*Every effort will be made to consolidate travel expenses by including multiple venues on each trip.
For information, contact
CD recordings available upon request.