In a time when musicians have had to stay at home, out of rehearsal spaces and recital halls, the idea of community has become more important than ever before. Due to the ever-expanding global community of musicians, along with ease of global communication, musicians from across the world have been brought together closer than ever before. An organization that was committed to this even before our current circumstances is the International Clarinet Association, dedicated to fostering an active and robust community of clarinetists from around the world. ICA’s mission states they are “a community of clarinetists and clarinet enthusiasts that supports projects that will benefit clarinet performance; provides opportunities for the exchange of ideas, materials, and information among its members.” Here is a quick guide of the variety of benefits the ICA offers to clarinet professionals and enthusiasts alike and how you can join.
An important goal of the ICA is to foster “communication and fellowship”, which they do in very tangible ways. Most regularly, each membership comes with a subscription to The Clarinet, a scholarly journal released quarterly with the most recent research, discussions, and interviews from the global clarinet community. This journal can be procured both in print and digitally (but more on that later).
Additionally, the ICA hosts an annual festival for registered participants. ClarinetFest is an opportunity for participants to enjoy performances, masterclasses, and lectures showcasing the best the community has to offer. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ICA has adjusted to a virtual format for ClarinetFest 2021. This flexible, virtual format allows for diverse and global programming that will take place over four weekends in July. Additionally, the whole conference will be available to registered attendees for one month following the event.
The Clarinet and ClarinetFest are two concrete and valuable examples of ICA’s commitment to their mission statement of fostering community and communication among clarinetists around the world. There is also a staggering amount of variety in membership options to best fit individual needs and circumstances based on age, length of subscription, and affiliation. Each membership has the option to register for one year or two, as well as the option to receive materials in print and online, or only online. These differences are reflected in the relative cost of each membership. Additionally, there is a wide variety of options for demographic distinction including: Youth (high school or younger), Full-time Student (Collegiate), Adult, Senior Citizen (65 and older), Institutional, Commercial, and Military.
An important distinction reflected in the ICA’s website and materials is that this organization is not just committed to those that consider themselves clarinet professionals, but also enthusiasts. There are other numerous benefits available to members, such as access to the Naxos Music Library, a classical music streaming service with a massive catalog of recordings. The ICA’s commitment to community and communication have allowed them to adapt to the pandemic and continue to offer great benefits for their members. They are offering the opportunity to connect in a time when musicians need it most and will surely flourish as conventions return to in-person formats. If this sounds like a community you hope to join, learn more at www.clarinet.org.