When Dr. Miles Ishigaki came to Fresno State in 1987 to teach clarinet in the Department of Music, the clarinet program began with a single clarinet major. In the three decades since, the program has grown and produced some distinguished and highly successful alumni who excel in the music profession as performers, as teachers from the grade school through collegiate levels, and as highly regarded leaders in many fields outside of music.

This year’s event celebrated the three decades of clarinet at Fresno State by showcasing one of the most prominent clarinet performer-teachers today – Mark Nuccio, principal clarinet of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and former New York Philharmonic acting principal clarinet, interim principal clarinet, associate principal clarinet and Eb clarinetist for 17 years.

Nuccio was joined by his collaborative pianist, Wendy Chen, for a lecture, interview, master class and performance on campus. The events served as a tribute to the alumni, who were hard-working students while studying at Fresno State many years ago.

“Mark Nuccio, himself a distinguished alumni from the University of Northern Colorado and a graduate of Northwestern University with Robert Marcellus, will surely synergize our campus community and students studying music at Fresno State,” Ishigaki said.

Dr. Miles M. Ishigaki“The distinguished clarinet alumni celebrated are successful in their careers and lives after studying at Fresno State. Their work after Fresno State demonstrates their commitment and discipline to doing good in society. Their successes in the workforce clearly identify the benefits of getting a degree at Fresno State.”

The celebration featured several events from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4 with artists Mark Nuccio and Wendy Chen:

Celebrating 30 years of Clarinet at Fresno State featuring Guest Mark Nuccio

12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, Concert Hall at Fresno State

The opening event was a free lecture and performance for the Music Department Convocation. It was open to all Fresno State students. This event was streamed live on Music 9 Online’s Facebook channel.

Master class/clinic with pianist Wendy Chen

3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in the piano studio, for Fresno State piano students in Prof. Andreas Werz’s class.

Mark Nuccio and Wendy Chen – performance and interview with KVPR’s Joe Moore

1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, this was broadcast live on KVPR Valley Public Radio 89.3 Fresno and 89.1 Bakersfield. It was also streamed live on Music 9 Online’s Facebook channel.

From left: Yervand Boyajyan, Nicholas Moyer, Oleksandr Babich and Michael CoppedgeAlumni and Friends concert performance (pictured above)

3:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, Smittcamp Alumni House, free to the public, limited seats available.

Featured alumni, current students and friends performings during this concert will include:

  • Aaron Marcus Luna
  • Yervand Boyajyan
  • Michael Coppedge
  • Oleksandr Babich
  • Nicholas Moyer
  • Richard Martinez
  • Anne Hendrickson
  • Taylor Ledak
  • Jennifer Ostwalt

Master clarinet class with Mark Nuccio

9:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 4, for Fresno State clarinet students in Dr. Ishigaki’s studio, Concert Hall at Fresno State, free.

Special performance by Mark Nuccio and Wendy Chen

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, Concert Hall at Fresno State. This concert was streamed live on Music 9 Online’s Facebook channel.

“It’s not just academic or theoretical, but real and tangible, the lives of our alumni who have earned a degree at Fresno State are indeed experiencing success in the world – from Dubai to New York to Washington, D.C. to Tennessee, Los Angeles and Fresno, the clarinet alumni signal to our students, hey, if you work really hard, you may not know what’s at the end of the road, but success is waiting for you after your degree from Fresno State.”

Ishigaki highlights some of the distinguished alumni of the Fresno State clarinet program:

  • Jennifer Reimer – a Bullard High graduate, Reimer graduated from Fresno State in 2006 with a double major in business administration-finance and music performance, Reimer now works for a law firm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Andrew Seigel – a Clovis West graduate, Seigel is now an associate professor of clarinet at State University of New York – Fredonia. He performs with the Fredonia Wind Quintet, the Buffalo Chamber Players, the Silverwind Duo, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra and the Erie Chamber Orchestra. He has held orchestral positions in Michigan, Louisiana and Mississippi, and has released two CDs (“American Kaleidoscope” and “Aurora”) on the Emeritus label.
  • Daniel Zanutto is a professor of music and music education at California State University, Long Beach.
  • Christine Montanez – a Roosevelt High School graduate, Montanez is now director and principal at Kepler Neighborhood Schools, a charter school in Fresno.
  • Richard Martinez – a McLane High gracuate, Martinez is now special assistant of music supervisor, Fresno Unified School District.
  • Mario Capote is the director of bands at Tulare Union High.
  • Aaron Marcus Luna is a music teacher with Visalia Unified School District. Luna also teaches clarinet part time at Fresno State.

The following is a list of some other notable Fresno State clarinet alumni:

  • Laura Ramos, librarian, George Washington University, D.C.
  • Alison Deadman, associate professor of music, East Tennessee State University.
  • Donald Flaherty, director and founder of Gold Drum and Bugle Corps, Los Angeles.
  • Taylor Ledak, director of bands, Roosevelt School of the Arts, Fresno
  • Ricky Lee, music teacher, Sanger Unified School District
  • Ana Cuevas, music teacher, Sanger Unified School District
  • Tom Sholl, music teacher, Visalia Unified School District
  • Rebecca Perry-Hunt, music teacher, Tulare Unified School District

“Celebrating 30 Years of Clarinet” would not be possible without the support of many sponsors, including Associated Students Inc., KVPR-Valley Public Radio, Skyepack, D’Addario Woodwinds, Buffet Crampon Paris and Horn Shop.

“Celebrating 30 Years of Clarinet” will continue in the spring semester, with a concert on Saturday, April 14. The Fresno State Clarinet Studio Concerto and Clarinet Chamber Music will perform with alumni. Featured Fresno artist Robert Nidy will show original artworks in the Concert Hall.

Additional information is available by calling 559.278.2654 or online at www.fresnostate.edu/artshum/music/concerts/.