Artist Spotlight: Kinsey Fournier ’12

Cameron Carrus

In a prestigious Conservatory such as Lawrence’s, there is no doubt that musicians will become more skilled at their instruments, but skill is only half the musician’s battle.

Senior Kinsey Fournier clarinet performance major, is applying her skill to repertoire outside of her comfort level, exploring different styles, in order to become a better-rounded musician.

Fournier will be starting her recital with a piece by Joan Tower titled “Wings” for solo clarinet. Over the course of its history, this piece has been transcribed for solo saxophone as well, to give you an idea of just how virtuosic it is.

Fournier commented that this piece is a “good way to start the program because it is supposed to come out of nothing.”

The piece starts with long, sustained notes, slowly building, then deconstructing to where it first started.

Perhaps the most diverse work in her program will be the closer, titled “Grooves,” written by Phil Parker. The movements of this piece include “Bop,” “Hocket and Rocket,” “Sultry Waltz” and “Bulgarian Blues.”

This piece also “touches home a bit.” Parker is from Fournier’s home state of Arkansas, and she first heard of the piece when her high school clarinet teacher performed it on a CD she gave to Fournier.

The especially jazzy nature of the last two movements were especially challenging for Fournier. Although she has experience playing jazz, solo jazz proves to be a different animal.

With the help of jazz saxophone virtuoso and Instructor of Jazz Studies Jos*e* Encarnacion, Fournier has been able to attain a better understanding of the jazz language that is used.

Etezady’s “Glint,” a duet for clarinet and alto saxophone, is the piece that Fournier claims has pushed her the most. Some of the challenges the piece presents include fast tempos marked “nimble,” hockets between the two instruments, and attention to blending tones.

At some points, the two instruments must provide one unified sound, while in other sections they are supposed to be opposite to the point of confrontation. Fournier has been experimenting with extended techniques such as circular breathing to make the challenging passages fast and fluid.

Through various pre-recital performances of the piece, Fournier has realized the value of getting outside of the practice room and playing for people. Further, she reflected, “It has just hit me this year that I just want to show people great clarinet music that they don’t normally hear.”

Also featured on Fournier’s recital will be a trio for clarinet, oboe and bassoon, by Georges Auric, which Fournier describes as a “silly, cute French piece,” capturing the character of each instrument. In addition, Fournier will be performing Poulenc’s clarinet sonata.

“It’s neat to finally be able to play this piece at an ability I feel is adequate,” Fournier says of this go-to piece in clarinet literature.

This diverse collection of clarinet repertoire will be showcased on April 28 at 3 p.m. in Harper Hall. Fournier says to her audience, “Come in with an open mind. This is not just an all-classical clarinet recital. In pushing my limits, I hope to challenge your listening experience.”

Also coming up for Fournier on April 29 is a live broadcast of her quintet on Wisconsin Public Radio at 12:30 p.m. Fournier will be busy preparing for graduate school auditions and making connections in the clarinet world this summer, including a trip to Belgium with renowned clarinetist Robert Spring. She will be student teaching in the area next fall.