T h e   D e s e r t's   E d g e
Clarinet-Percussion Duo

Robert Spring, clarinet
J. B. Smith, percussion

Robert Spring and JB Smith

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
Light, fast

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
I. Pruned Danish
2. Veiled Images
3. Outta My Way

In Light of Three (1988) by J. B. Smith

Arcadia University-Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Augsburg College-Minneapolis, Minnesotta
Baylor University
Capital University-Columbus, Ohio
Colorado State University
Concordia College-Moorhead, Minnesota
Columbus College
Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam
East Carolina University
Eastern Michigan University
Florida State University
Ft Lewis College-Durango, Colorado
Illinois State University-Bloomington
Indiana University
Indiana State University
Ithaca College
Kent State University
Louisiana State University
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Minnesota State University-Mankato
Morehead State University-Morehead, Kentucky
New Mexico State University
Northern Arizona University
Northern Illinois University
Ohio State University
Ohio University
Portland State University
Rice University
Sam Houston State University
San Jose State University
St Cloud State University
Stephen F. Austin University
SUNY Buffalo
SUNY Fredonia
Tennessee Tech University-Cookeville
University of Arkansas
University of Central Florida
University of Colorado-Boulder
University of Florida
University of Illinois
University of Kentucky-Lexington
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Missouri
University of Missouri-Kansas City
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina-Greensboro
University of North Dakota
University of North Texas
University of Oregon
University of South Florida
University of Southern Illinois
University of Texas-Austin
University of Washington
Washington State University
Western Michigan University
Western Ontario University
1991, 1995, 2002 and 2004 International Clarinet Association Conventions
University of Oklahoma for the 1992 Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium
1994 Music Educator's National Convention in Cincinnatti
1994 Regional Conference of the Society of Composers in Albuquerque

Robert Spring

10 Steps to a Better Clarinet Section (for educators, music education students as well as younger age clarinetists)
The 21st Century Clarinetist - Multiple Articulation, Circular Breathing and Other Contempory Techniques

J.B. Smith

Hand-Drumming and Rhythm Concepts
Four Mallet Marimba Workshop
The Roll of the Percussionist
Contemporary Literature for Marimba
Percussion Section Techniques

Fee schedule

$600 plus expenses*

Concert and Masterclasses
$800 plus expenses*

*Every effort will be made to consolidate travel expenses by including multiple venues on each trip.

For information, contact

Robert Spring (Robert.Spring@asu.edu or 480/965-4306)
or J.B. Smith (j.b.smith@asu.edu or 480/965-3549)
School of Music
PO Box 870405
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-0405

CD recordings available upon request.