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US Army Field Band clarinetist performs at IU



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Graduate student Erik Franklin performs several clarinet pieces accompanied by pianist Hui-Chuan Chen for his graduate recital Jan. 8 in Auer Hall. Franklin performed pieces such as Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 120 No. 2 by Johannes Brahms and Fantasy by Joan Tower. Steven Lin Buy Photos

A crystal-clear note pierced through the silent hall as he began to play. 

Clarinetist Erik Franklin gave his doctoral recital this Tuesday at Auer Hall. Franklin has been studying at the Jacobs School of Music under professor Howard Klug for three and a half years and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree. Klug said Franklin has progressed a great deal since coming to his studio.

“He’s a hard worker, he’s a good player, he’s got good skills, good talent, but he also puts that together with a good work ethic,” Klug said. 

Franklin’s time at IU is often limited due to his position in the U.S. Army Field Band, the premier touring musical outfit for the U.S. Army. Franklin joined the band in 2016 and has toured in nearly all 50 states.

“I always knew about the army band, I knew it was a good career path, so I’ve been looking forward to doing this kind of thing,” Franklin said. “It’s a dream job.”

For Franklin's recital Tuesday, he performed a variety of old and new pieces, from a classic Brahms piece to "Fantasy (...those harbor lights)", a contemporary American composition by Joan Tower. 

“I think we got very lucky in terms of clarinet players, in terms of all the other wind instruments in getting very good repertoire,” Franklin said. “So I’m pretty lucky that I get connected to all that music.”

Junior Victor Battista is a clarinet player in Klug’s studio. He attended the performance to support his fellow studio member. 

“You can definitely tell it’s very refined, all the work that he’s doing and everything,” Battista said. “It’s cool for us as underclassmen to see someone so much older than us and hopes for us for the future and what to sound like.”

Franklin said he doesn't get to come back to Bloomington that often because he spends a great deal of time playing in the U.S. Army Band. He said performing at the music school again gave him the opportunity to see his colleagues and former students.

“I actually had some former students that I taught when they were in high school when I was still studying when I was at IU,” Franklin said. “Now they’re at the Jacobs school, so I got to see some of them in their college habitats, so it was nice to see that they’re still playing clarinet.”

Franklin plans to complete his dissertation in the spring of 2020 after completing numerous musical exams and a final chamber music recital in the fall. He said the lessons he’s learned at the music school will continue to influence his playing for years to come.

“I like to just make moments,” Franklin said. “I think that’s kind of our job as performers is to say something in that way that people can feel something when they’re sitting there.”

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