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Musicians draw lessons from Tokyo conference

Professor Timothy Perry returned from a summer convention in Tokyo, Japan, with new music for his graduate students and for himself as well as a healthy dose of inspiration.

Perry, a clarinetist, performed at the meeting of the International Clarinet Association along with two Binghamton colleagues, cellist Stephen Stalker and pianist Margaret Reitz. They were chosen for one of 18 spots on the program from among 88 applicants.

“It was a remarkable opportunity to make music in another part of the world,” said Perry, whose lifelong interest in travel was fostered by his parents. He has participated in three other international conferences.

The convention program book, nearly an inch think, highlighted the schedule in Japanese and English. Roughly 500 to 600 professionals attended the event in late July, as did 2,000 or so students.

Perry said he was especially impressed by the student attendance and by the chance to hear artists from around the world perform live. “It’s concerts from morning to night,” he said. “It’s just a feast.” One piece he heard at the convention Grooves will appear on programs he’s performing this month and in November. Other music has become fodder for graduate students with whom he works.

Perry, who worked as a conductor in Taiwan for two months early in his career, returned to Asia with better language preparation this time. Though he couldn’t read much Japanese, he could speak a bit.

Perry said everyone involved in the conference was wonderful to the visitors, and that the Japanese in general treated each other well.

“I was struck by how polite they are to one another,” he said. “There is a culture of respect.”

Perry found the famous punctuality of the Japanese quite calming. “You have the feeling that things are going to happen when they say they’re going to happen,” he said.

While preparing for the trip, Perry was inspired to switch clarinets. He had played a French instrument since 1965, but now plays a Japanese clarinet. The rare instrument combines the classic French and German systems, with more tone holes to accommodate a tighter bore.

“They cost about as much as a car,” Perry said. “They’re gorgeous and I’m in love with them.”

Perry, who has also played antique instruments, has about a dozen clarinets in his collection. “I love them just as objects of art,” he said.

Clarinetist Timothy Perry, cellist Stephen Stalker and pianist Margaret Reitz played a program that included Raga Music for Solo Clarinet by John Mayer of India; Ma Wal Masri by Ali Osman of Egypt and Among Friends by Chan Ka Nin of Hong Kong and Canada. The first piece was a solo performed by Perry; Reitz joined him for the second piece; Stalker joined them for the third.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08