Register now for the Clarinet Mentors Live Event March 9 - 11, 2017 in conjunction with the Backun International Clarinet Competition


Join me for inspiring concerts, masterclasses, group ensembles, an amazing array of clarinet gear, and to be part of our in-person Clarinet Mentors Community

Clarinet Mentors Masterclasses

Just announced Feb. 7th! The Clarinet Mentors group will have masterclasses uniquely for us led by David Shifrin, Corrado Giufreddi, Ricardo Morales and John Schertle. What an amazing line-up of guest artists!

This is your chance to learn many new clarinet skills in a very supportive environment. Participants will receive a mini lesson with Michelle, and other guest artists, in a supportive group setting. Each player will choose a focus that they would like to improve, and play a brief piece of music that illustrates this. Michelle will provide some pointers and technics to improve, with the goal of making it feel easier for each performer. All participants learn a great deal by watching other players, since we all face similar challenges. These events alone make the whole 3-day festival worth attending!

Participants registering after Feb. 8th are welcome to attend all masterclasses, but will be on the waiting list for a spot as a solo player. These will be participatory, so there is much to learn for everyone.


World Class Clarinet Recitals

There are four incredible clarinet recitals featuring some of the world's greatest players. All participants in the Clarinet Mentors Live Event have access to the feature recitals in the Backun International Clarinet Competition. This includes three evening concerts featuring Ricardo Morales, Corrado Giufreddi, and David Shifrin. There will also be an afternoon recital with Wonkak Kim and James Zimmerman. It is extremely rare to hear so many skilled players in one setting. These events alone make the whole 3-day festival worth attending!

Clarinet Ensembles

Pull out your clarinet and have a great time playing music with like-minded clarinetists. We will have a Clarinet Mentors Clarinet Choir, with repertoire suitable for a variety of experience levels, led by Michelle. This will be a great way to play some fun music, and also learn some ensemble skills. Making music together in this supportive environment will be a highlight of our time together. (Plus, who knows what mysterious and famous clarinetists may drop in to help us out...)

"All Things Clarinet" For You To Try Out

This will be an amazing opportunity to try out mouthpieces, reeds, ligatures, barrels, bells and clarinets (and more). Rarely do you get to try out so many things in one place. You can discover what sounds best with (and perhaps radically enhances)  your clarinet setup.

Backun International Clarinet Competition

You will have access to all of the live events that are happening at Vanderbilt University during this exciting clarinet competition. Some of the best clarinetists in the world are gathering to judge the next generation of great performers. You can watch the live rounds of competition, and we all benefit from the inspiring concerts and recitals that are part of this event. 

Some of the performers that you will hear:

David Shifrin

Winner of the 2000 Avery Fisher Prize, clarinetist David Shifrin has appeared with the Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Denver symphonies.

He has appeared in recital at Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In addition he has appeared in recital and as soloist with orchestra throughout Europe and Asia.

A three-time Grammy nominee, he has been the artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest since 1980 and a faculty member at Yale since 1987. An artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989, he served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004.

He was one of Michelle's childhood "Clarinet Heroes".

Ricardo Morales

Ricardo Morales is one of the most sought after clarinetists of today. He joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal clarinet in 2003, having held the same position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since the age of 21, under the direction of James Levine. His virtuosity and artistry as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician have been hailed and recognized in concert halls around the world. He has been asked to perform as principal clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and at the invitation of Sir Simon Rattle, as principal clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic. He also performs as principal clarinetist with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra and the Mito Chamber Orchestra, at the invitation of Maestro Seiji Ozawa.

He is a true master of the clarinet, and a super-nice guy (in Michelle's opinion).

For more details of his amazing clarinet career, click here.

Corrado Giufreddi

A truly versatile artist, Corrado Giuffredi is renowned as a classical, chamber, jazz and klezmer musician. His orchestral appearances include performances with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana and the Orchestra Filharmonica della Scala, to name a few. In addition to numerous recordings, Corrado has also premiered a number of works including Penderecki’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.

His performances are stunning!

Bil Jackson

Bil is the Artistic Director of this event, but unfortunately will be unable to perform for us due to health reasons.

Bil Jackson, is Associate Professor of clarinet at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, which is the host of these clarinet events. He enjoys a varied musical career that includes solo, orchestral and chamber music appearances. He has served as principal clarinetist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony and has performed as guest principal clarinetist with the St Louis, St. Paul Chamber, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Cincinnati symphony orchestras. He also has appeared as a soloist with the Colorado, Honolulu, Denver, Charlotte, Dallas Chamber, and Aspen Chamber orchestras.

This summer marks Mr. Jackson’s 34th year on the Artist-Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival. He has been one of Michelle's favourite clarinet teachers.

To read more about his extensive career and acheivements, click here.

Wonkak Kim

Korean-born clarinetist WONKAK KIM has captivated audiences around the globe with his “excellent breath control” (The Washington Post) and “exuberant musicianship” (Fanfare). Kim appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at leading venues throughout the United States such as Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Constitution Hall as well as in Paris, London, Ghent, Geneva, Seoul, Osaka, Costa Rica, and Brazil. A Naxos Recording Artist, he has recorded numerous CDs that received international acclaim: Gulfstream, a collection of new American chamber music, was named “Music US Choice” by BBC Music Magazine and praised for its “very highest quality” (Gramophone, UK). The Clarinet lauded Kim’s “sensitive playing, a lovely sound and consummate facility” in François Devienne: Clarinet Sonatas. For more information on this artist, click here.

James Zimmermann

James Zimmermann joined the Nashville Symphony as Principal Clarinet in 2008. Originally from Hillsborough, New Jersey, James holds a B.M. from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and a M.M. from the University of Minnesota. His principal teachers were Yehuda Gilad and Burt Hara. James has performed at music festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra, Sarasota Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was awarded the Gino B. Cioffi Prize for Outstanding Woodwind Performance. Prior to joining the Nashville Symphony, James was a member of the Pacific Symphony.

For more information, click here.

Our Schedule Of Events

This schedule is preliminary, and will be updated as the event approaches, but this gives you an idea of what we will experience. You will have access to the exhibits of clarinet gear every day.

Updated Februrary 23, 2017

Here is a tentative schedule of events for the Clarinet Mentors Live Event at the Backun International Clarinet Competition. Some of these may change slightly depending as details of the competition are still being modified. Throughout the event there will be time to test out new clarinet gear - mouthpieces, reeds, barrels, bells, clarinets, and more. Michelle will be available to help you choose things. We have one session in the schedule now, but we can make time for more if needed. 

Thursday March 9th

8:00 - 9:00 Registration

9:00 - 10:15 Group Warm Up and Clarinet Mentors Clarinet Choir (music will be available at a variety of levels for participants to all play together)

10:15 - 10:30 Break

10:30 - 12:00 Clarinet Mentors Masterclass #1 (Michelle Anderson) - Please come prepared to have a mini-lesson with Michelle by bringing some music to work on. Each participant will have approximately 15 minutes during the masterclass. Everyone is welcome to have their clarinets out and ready to play. There may be some technics that Michelle will work on with the entire group during these sessions.

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 2:00 Opportunity to watch part of the Corrado Giuffredi masterclass with the competition candidates

2:00 - 3:30 Clarinet Mentors Clarinet Gear Galore! This is your chance to try out mouthpieces, barrels, reeds, clarinets, ligatures, and all things clarinet! This is a great opportunity to try a variety of new gear, and to have Michelle and other Clarinet Mentors community members help you choose what sounds best for you. Ricardo Morales is going to hang out with us for the first part of this session to help people choose the best sounding gear (and likely to demonstrate equipment as well).

3:30 Break

4:00 - 5:15 Clarinet Mentors Masterclass #2 (Corrado Giufreddi)

5:45 - 7:15 Clarinet Mentors Dinner - This is a chance for all of us to go to a local restaurant together and enjoy a good meal, and socialize before the evening performance. Amerigos Italian Restaurant - see details in members' area

8:00 Evening Concert - Ricardo Morales


Friday March 10

9:00 - 10:15 Clarinet Mentors Clarinet Choir (music will be available at a variety of levels for participants to all play together)

10:15 - 10:30 Break

10:30 - 12:00 Clarinet Mentors Masterclass #3 (Ricardo Morales)

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00  Afternoon Recital - Wonkak Kim and James Zimmerman

3:00 Fireside Chat with the great Corrado Giufreddi

4:00 - 5:30 Clarinet Mentors Masterclass #4 (David Shifrin and Michelle Anderson)

8:00 Evening Concert - Corrado Giufreddi


Saturday March 11

9:00 - 10:15 Clarinet Mentors Clarinet Choir (music will be available at a variety of levels for participants to all play together)

10:15 - 10:30 Break

10:30 - 12:00 Clarinet Mentors Masterclass #5 (Michelle Anderson)

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 Clarinet Mentors Masterclass #6 (John Schertle)

3:00 - 5:00 Young Artist Competition Final rounds

8:00 Evening Concert - Winners of the Backun International Clarinet Competition and Mr. David Shifrin


Where to Stay

All of the Clarinet Mentors Live Event activities happen in conjunction with the Backun International Clarinet Competition at the Blair School of Music in Nashville, TN. There will be a special block of rooms reserved in two nearby hotels, with a special conference rate for us.

Hotel Bookings

Event organizers have reserved room blocks at two hotels about 1.5 miles from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University (with shuttle bus service). Rooms are available on a first come, first served basis and the block is reserved until Feb. 8. Select from the links below to reserve your room.

Update Feb. 15th - the booked set of rooms has expired. It was a rate of $225 per night. The Home 2 Suites will still honor that rate if there is space available but you need to call them directly: 

Home 2 Suites offers a complimentary shuttle service within a 2-mile radius, free wifi, a beverage area and free breakfast. 

Sales Coordinator, Stephanie Bowles at 615-921-8138 and ask for the Backun Group code BIC.

Here are some other accommodation options through Airbnb: (About $65 per night) (about $80 per night) (about $100 per night) (about $80 per night) (about $65 per night)


The Holiday Inn Nashville also has a block of rooms for $239 per night. Phone 1-615-327-4707, booking code BIC. 2613 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

Register Now for this Live Clarinet Event

This will be an event for you to learn many things to help you play clarinet better. You will also be inspired by world-class performers, and will enjoy trying all kinds of new clarinet gear. Don't miss this fun and educational clarinet event that is designed for you, the amateur adult clarinetist!