HomeBalkan Clarinet Summit - many languages - one soul

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"many languages - one soul" - Balkan Clarinet Summit

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  • Artist:Balkan Clarinet Summit
  • featured artist:S. Pazarentsis, S. Trkulja, S. Balutel, O. Büyükberber, O. Pamukov, T. Klein, C. Puntin, S. Schorn
  • region:Gypsy and Balkan
  • release year:2015
  • style(s):
    • Classical
    • Jazz
  • country:Greece
  • catalogue numberPIR2857
  • formats:
    • CD

the drive of a wedding band
the melancholy of a poem
the depth of a string quartet
Re-mixed in an a-cappella robe
of 6 clarinets and 6 cultures


The clarinet is the most popular instrument in South Eastern Europe besides the violin, yet numerous divergent performance techniques have emerged from area to area. The Balkan Clarinet Summit brings together local masters of the clarinet and important representatives of the international clarinet music scene to combine, contrast and mix the fascinating variety of this widespread folk-like instrument with the interpretive culture of both classical and jazz traditions.

Goethe-Institut Athina director Wolfgang Pöhlmann had the original idea which was then picked up by the Goethe-HQ in Munich. Music journalist Guenther Huesman developed it further and, finally, Claudio Puntin and Steffen Schorn were brought on board as musical directors. Claudio then went on a 2-month search for the right artists, seeking local masters who are rooted in tradition but are still flexible enough to work with colleagues from different musical heritages.

The next step was to compile the repertoire for the project. Every musician provided 2 to 4 traditional pieces or their own compositions. Steffen and Claudio then made the arrangements for this unusual acapella formation. Rehearsals proved tricky at first as finding ways to balance and complement the varied means and ways of adaptation was an art in and of itself! The project then all came beautifully together over 3 concerts in September 2012 in Athina, Braaov and Thessaloniki. The outstanding feedback saw the group hit the road for more concerts in December, performing in Sofia, Beograd, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and again in Athina.

The story thus far has been captured on this live-CD as well as a film, directed by Horacio Alcala. Both convey this extraordinary collaboration and are a moving testimony of artistic understanding beyond style definitions and national borders. The story will hopefully continue …

Artist information

Naoussa-born Klarino player Stavros Pazarentsis descends from a family of folk musicians and has a playing style that is steeped in the many Greek Klarino traditions. For this ensemble, he composed the pieces “Nostalgia“ and “Naoussa“. His taksims are formative poetic solo moments. He works as a studio musician and runs a live music bar in Naoussa.

Musical chameleon Slobodan Trkulja originates from Novi Sad in Serbia. For his unique project Balkanopolis, he united his traditional Serbian musical influences and playing style with the sound of a large studio orchestra. His impressive virtuosity can be heard on his composition “Pitagorino Oro“, featuring a rhythm that takes a 7/7/7/4 form.

Sergiu Balutel was born in Moldavia. He is a classical Romanian Folk musician and master of the staccato playing. His infectiously light rhythmic phrasing can be admired on “Breaza“ and “Geamparale“.

Oguz Büyükberber is the only bass clarinet soloist in his country. Born in Istanbul and residing in Amsterdam, he is, alongside his German colleague Tobias Klein, considered one of the leading representatives of the contemporary jazz and improv scene in Europe. Büyükberber‘s ties to turkish folk music are woven into his very individual style. Together with Klein, he formes an impressive duo that
includes all the instruments of the clarinet family.

Orlin Pamukov represents the Bulgarian style of play, which, with its articulation and wily rhythms, is one of the most complicated forms of popular music in Europe. His composition “Severniaski Tanc“ is based on virtuosic 9/8 timing. He is the only one in the group who plays a clarinet of German construction and fingering.

Claudio Puntin‘s elegance and warm and flexible clarinet sound can be heard on the soundtrack to many films, theatre pieces and radio plays. He effortlessly traverses ambient, electronic and melodic musical forms and ranks among the most creative improvisors on the scene, as can be heard here on the customised bass clarinet on ‚“Snake Lick Jab‘‘. His solo on Slobodan Trkuljas ‚“Za Moc Oza‘‘ is one of the highlights of this recording.

Steffen Schorn is a deep woodwind instrument specialist. His experience as one of the world‘s best conductors of large orchestral jazz bands and his own personal compositional style are in high demand internationally. He is a professor and director of the jazz department at Nuremberg‘s Musikhochschule and a conductor of the Norwegian Wind Ensemble. His expanding harmonic worlds can be heard on “Poéme“ and “Colors of Istanbul“.

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