Chattanooga Now Chattanooga Clarinet Choir opens season with 'enchanting' guest

Chattanooga Now Chattanooga Clarinet Choir opens season with 'enchanting' guest

October 6th, 2016 by Staff Report in Chattnow Music
Dr. Brian Viliunas

Dr. Brian Viliunas

Photo by Caroline Summers

The Chattanooga Clarinet Choir will open its 2016-17 season with events that press a guest artist into service.

Dr. Brian Viliunas, an associate professor of music at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., will lead a workshop/masterclass and an open dress rehearsal early next week, then perform at the first concert three days later.

Choir manager Jan Wilkinson says the highlight of the season opener will be Viliunas performing the Concerto for Clarinet by big-band legend Artie Shaw. The mostly classical concert also includes works by Mozart, Rossini, Dvorak, Holst, a klezmer piece and "In the Mood."

Viliunas teaches clarinet and conducts all orchestral activities at Samford. He was a guest artist and clinician in January at the choir-sponsored River City Clarinet Winter Festival, "enchanting all with his warm personality and spectacular musicianship," says Wilkinson.

Local musician James Crumble also will join the choir to play percussion.

The concert, scheduled Friday evening, Oct. 14, is part of the Sunset Concert Series at North River Civic Center in Hixson. Concerts are usually held on third Fridays each month, but this date was moved up to accommodate early voting at the center, beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The Chattanooga Clarinet Choir is under the baton of director Lok Kim, assistant professor and Chamber Orchestra director at Covenant College. The community ensemble of professional, amateur and student musicians was founded in 1999 by Jay Craven, who still performs with the choir.

Any clarinetist may participate in Viliunas' workshop/masterclass, which is scheduled for 3-4:30 p.m. in the chapel at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Those who can't make the Oct. 14 concert or who would "like to hear the transformation a dress rehearsal brings to a program" are welcome to come for a sneak preview at the open dress rehearsal that follows in the sanctuary from 7 to 9 p.m.

If you go

› What: Workshop/masterclass with clarinetist Dr. Brian Viliunas.

› When: 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11.

› Where: Chapel of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1505 N. Moore Road.

› To register: High school musicians who would like to play for Viliunas as a masterclass participant should call Jan Wilkinson at 706-270-4184 or email

› What: Open dress rehearsal by the Chattanooga Clarinet Choir.

› When: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11.

› Where: Sanctuary of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1505 N. Moore Road.

› What: Season-opening concert by Chattanooga Clarinet Choir and guest artist Brian Viliunas.

› When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14.

› Where: North River Civic Center, 1009 Executive Drive, Suite 102, Hixson.

› Admission: Free.

› Website:

Save the date

The fall concert schedule also includes:

› Nov. 30: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, noon.

› Dec. 13: Alexian Village, 7 p.m.

About Brian Viliunas

Clarinetist and conductor Brian Viliunas is an assistant professor of music at Samford University, where he teaches clarinet, music classes and conducts all orchestral activities. He studied at Northwestern University, Rice University and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University. Viliunas was a Fulbright scholar to Norway, twice competed in the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition and won third prize in the International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition.

He has been a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, where he performed principal clarinet on a DVD recording of Verdi’s Requiem with conductor Placido Domingo. He also has performed with Lorin Maazel, Benjamin Zander, Carlos Miguel Prieto and Andrew Litton. He has given performances across the United States, 14 countries and on three continents, including the Bergen Philharmonic while living in Norway. He previously was principal clarinetist for the Phoenix Opera and is now principal clarinetist for the Arizona Opera.

A Buffet Artist, he plays R-13 Greenline clarinets.