Earlier this spring Donald Montanaro announced his retirement from the Curtis Institute of Music after more than 30 years on Faculty. A tribute concert was held on March 16 to celebrate his distinguished career, which has inspired generations of clarinetists, many of whom perform around the world.
The event was an emotional experience for all who gathered that afternoon to pay tribute to their teacher, colleague and friend. Clarinetists flew in from Canada, China, Mexico, Korea, and from several U.S. cities to take part in the celebration.
I was honored to attend and perform at the event, and grateful for the opportunity to celebrate a great teacher and mentor. I studied with Don at Curtis from 1998-2002, and have continued to learn from him ever since!
As a teacher Don is meticulous, persistent, patient, articulate, demanding and inspiring, as well as extremely generous with his time and knowledge. Through his teaching, Don instills in his students a love for the bel canto style of playing and continues a great musical tradition established by his own teachers, Daniel Bonade, Ralph McLane and Marcel Tabuteau.
As a performer he is elegant, refined, engaging. The beauty of his tone and depth of musicality are absolutely breathtaking. Every time I hear his performances, every time I play for him, every time I hear him speak, I learn something new.
It was incredible to hear his current and former students perform, and witness first hand Don’s teaching reflected in each clarinetist. Even though every player sounded different, each with his/her own personality shining through, one could still clearly hear the influence of Don’s concepts in all performances.
For this occasion, I chose to perform Guastavino’s Tonada y Cueca, a tribute to Don from my homeland, Argentina, a country Don has visited countless times with Margarita, his lovely wife.
Below are a few pictures of the event. Enjoy!