Review of Winter Spirits Concert, March 3, 2014

Music Review: Vermont composers fare best

By Jim Lowe
March 03,2014

Vermont Virtuosi, a versatile chamber ensemble led by Barre flutist Laurel Ann Maurer,
commissioned and premiered Burlington composer Thomas (Larry) Read’s “If Winter Comes”
for flute and piano. In fact, to a degree, the lively and effervescent musical storytelling was
loosely based on the Russian fable of the crane and the otter.

A stark and haunting introduction by the piano is warmed by the crane in the form of the songful
flute. The story—and the music—works through pastoral quiet, agitation, and builds to an
exciting finale. The language, though largely tonal, has the richness of Read’s characteristic
spicy harmonies and rhythms. It proved to be an intriguing and rewarding 9-minute tale.

Maurer, an excellent and veteran flutist, delivered not only the virtuosity demanded with clarity
and understanding, she played with warmth and lyricism when called for. Burlington’s Claire
Black, the ensemble pianist, played with clarity, sensitivity and understanding.

Also outstanding, though with a very different flavor, was an older work by Barre composer
David Gunn, Maurer’s husband. Though also musical storytelling, his 2003 “In the forest, 400
owls discover a giant badger; it’s raining,” for B-flat clarinet and piano, is full of overt humor
and it’s much more tonal. In the 10½-minute piece, the jazzy writing travels through various
stages building to a frenzy but closes with warm lyricism—and it’s great fun.

Here again, great virtuosity is demanded from the players. Boston-area clarinetist Karen Luttik
played with not only a warm, sensuous sound, she managed a deft clarity, always expressive, in
the driving passages. Black backed her all the way, with deftness and sensitivity.

Vermont Virtuosi are excellent professional musicians who offer insight into unusual literature—
a welcome addition to Vermont’s music scene
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, March 3, 2014
Vermont Virtuosi Really Are
Jim Lowe from Vermont's Times Argus reviews "New Beginnings" Concert on March 4, 2017.
Times Arguy
Enthusiasm and vitality
Karen teaches Music at Rotterdam International Secondary School (RISS). Although she has only been teaching for 1 year she has made such a difference to the attitude towards music in the school. With her enthusiasm and vitality she turned what the students considered to be a “boring” subject into one that they all looked forward to. Since Karen took over I have had not one complaint about music and no student has played truant from her lessons.
Karen revised the curriculum to be more appealing for the students. She also ordered recorders for them and taught them how to play. Her students played in every school performance - as did Karen herself. She also encouraged them to play other instruments and taught them the importance of music in everyday life.
Karen is herself a talented musician and she certainly transfers this passion for music to her students. She has a warm, lively personality and is an asset to our school.
I will be sad to see Karen leave and it will be very difficult to find a replacement for her.
Karen will only bring benefits to any school that she teaches in.
Jane Forrest, Deputy Head Rotterdam International Secondary School
A strong and confident communicator
I have had the privilege to work extensively with the Aleotti Trio during MusicaLearning workshops.....

I've found Karen's ability to explore and express how she learns individually and in the group outstanding. Regularly she identified areas of learning and metaphors for understanding learning that were new and insightful to highly experienced professionals and managers. Her professionalism and enthusiasm for music contributed to the very positive reviews and regular call backs by these organisations.

She has been able to express clearly how she used the disciplines such as personal mastery, shared vision, team learning and scenario modelling in a range of situations including chamber music performance, orchestral playing, management training, private and classroom teaching. Linking these together and anchoring the learning through strong musical examples has been a hallmark of her work. One never forgets what personal mastery means and how much fun basic skill training can become after she has demonstrated how she works each day on whole notes and scales - and does so beautifully.

Karen has been a strong and confident communicator with a wide range of groups, she has demonstrated the ability to conceptualize and organize this new program by establishing first the Delta trio and then Aleotti and has continued to drive the various aspects needed to make MusicaLearning into an outstanding example of using music in learning.
Peter Luttik, DoTank Foundation
All students included!
Since August 2007, Karen has been our Music Teacher working with students aged 11 - 13 years old in our Foundation Course Curriculum.

Prior to Karen taking on this challenging teaching assignment, Music had been a subject which was only of interest to those students who were having personal coaching outside of our normal school curriculum. We quickly agreed our "Mission" of 'Music for Enjoyment' - all students included! Karen researched age appropriate curricula and placed resource orders.

Our new school year started on a positive level for all our students and has gone from good to fantastic over the past school year. Karen has had her students give performances at school events and has invited guests to enrich her students' learning. She has also brought her students on several field trips to provide them with a diversity of musical interests.

Clearly, in one short year she has accomplished much and inspired our students. I have enjoyed visiting her classes.

Aidan Campbell, Head Rotterdam International Secondary School
An exceptional gifted young artist
I am writing on behalf of Miss Karen Engert (Luttik) whom I consider to be an exceptional gifted young artist. She has been a member in my ensemble classes at Manhattan School of Music, and I have been impressed by her command of the clarinet, with an assurance far beyond her years. Her performances were marked by musical sensitivity and a good sense of style. She enjoyed the high regard of her peers and has always approached all her responsibilities with seriousness and enthusiasm. I am very pleased to bring her to your attention.
Stephen Maxym, bassoonist Met Opera Orchestra
Bijzonder leuke les
“Ik heb het altijd bijzonder leuk gevonden les van Karen te krijgen. Haar enthousiasme slaat op je over, of je het nu wil of niet. Ik veronderstel dat dit haar liefde is voor de klarinet, maar ook de lol om die over te brengen op leerlingen. Ze is in staat altijd positieve feedback te geven, waardoor je beter gaat presteren en veel plezier houdt bij het oefenen. Jammer voor mij dat zij nu naar de VS gaat.”

Elly, an adult student in the Netherlands
Dedicated, Patient, Understanding
Karen has a pleasant personality and has worked well with all members of the orchestra. She prepares herself well for rehearsals and performances and has also shown herself to be a reliable and concientious musician.

As the Principal Clarinetist of the orchestra, she was required to prepare young talented Singapore musicians for further studies in musical institutions overseas. As a teacher, she has shown herself to be dedicated, patient and understanding.

I am pleased to recommend Karen as a skillful and mature musician who would be an asset to any musical institution, and whom I will be sorry to lose.
Choo Hoey, Music Director and Resident Conductor Singapore Symphony Orchestra

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Van Buskirk: If I Could Start Again for clarinet solo
Beebe: How Was it We Were Caught? for clarinet and computer
Martino: A Set for Clarinet
Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)
Muczynski: Time Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 43
Juon: Trio Miniatures
Rota: Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano
Bruch: Pieces (8) for Clarinet/Violin, Viola/Cello and Piano, Op. 83
Piazzolla: Oblivion
Muczynski: Fantasy Trio for Piano, Cello and Clarinet, Op. 26
Walker: Full Circle for Flute, Clarinet and Piano
Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in B-flat major, FP 184
Gunn: Euphonicum Tangenturis
Webster: Carmen Rhapsody for Clarinet Flute and Piano
Vermont Virtuosi: Vermont Virtuosi and Walter Parker in Duscussion
Márquez: Zarabandeo for Clarinet and Piano
Sutermeister: Capriccio
Bassi: Fantasy on Verdi's "Rigoletto"
Persichetti: Parable XIII for Clarinet solo, Op. 126
Guastavino: Sonata para clarinete y piano
Juon: Trio Miniatures
Rota: Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano
Bruch: Pieces (8) for Clarinet/Violin, Viola/Cello and Piano, Op. 83
Piazzolla: Oblivion
Muczynski: Fantasy Trio for Piano, Cello and Clarinet, Op. 26
Stravinsky: Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo
Fauré: Dolly Suite, Op. 56
Gunn: Euphonicum Tangenturis
Webster: Carmen Rhapsody for Clarinet Flute and Piano

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