You spend your musical life looking for that special sound, that color palette that is uniquely yours. I have finally found MY color palette with Backun. There is so much more flexibility, warmth, and dimension with these gorgeous instruments than I have had in the past. The ease of playing allows me to express myself in ways I didn’t think possible. I feel incredibly fortunate to have these instruments as my tools for creating music. Thank you, Backun!
Carrie RavenStem is the clarinetist and co-founder of contemporary chamber ensemble A/Tonal. Their mission is to introduce audiences to living composers, bridging the gap between the old and the new, with unique partnerships within the community and beyond.
Carrie recently commissioned 5 local Louisville composers to write new pieces for her and A/Tonal, works by composers Daniel Gilliam, Frederick Speck, Jeremy Beck, and Erich Stem. Four of these works were premiered at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in May of 2018. The fifth work, Perceptions of Strife, was written for her by Peter Felice and premiered in 2011. It was performed at ICA’s ClarinetFest 2019 in Knoxville Tennessee. She and A/Tonal had the distinct honor of performing her commission by Daniel Gilliam for American novelist and poet Wendell Berry, whose text was used in the work The Porch over the River.
A/Tonal has been performing throughout Kentuckiana in venues such as The Kentucky Center, 21c Museum Hotel, Paul W. Ogle Center, and various universities including University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, and Centre College. For two years, A/Tonal was featured on WUOL’s The Unheard series, promoting the works of female composers Jennifor Bellor and Alex Shapiro. They recently recorded an arrangement of NPR’s Morning Edition theme which was aired on WYPR 88.1FM in Baltimore, MD and may be heard on Soundcloud. In the summer of 2016, A/Tonal partnered with Longleash trio as guests of the Loretto Project. The group’s premiere EP, Starting Point, featuring composers Erich Stem and Daniel Gilliam, was released on April 2, 2017 at A/Tonal’s Kentucky Center debut. A/Tonal has also had partnership with the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts in June 2017, offering a candid Q&A discussion on paving a path in music. The group completed their residency at the University of Louisville’s School of Music for the 2018-19 school year, with six new works written for them by student composers. This upcoming season A/Tonal will be featured on Louisville Public Media’s New Lens series, held at the 21c Museum in Louisville, where she will give the world premiere of Leonardo Schiavo’s Tre Fogile d’album, for solo clarinet. Carrie will be the guest artist for dance company 10 Hairy Legs in May 2020, performing Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint for the company’s Kentucky Center debut.
She has performed with several orchestras and ensembles including the Louisville Orchestra, Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Louisville Chamber Winds, the Louisville Ballet and the Kentucky Opera.
Carrie enjoys sharing her musical life with her husband, composer Erich Stem, as well as with their four children. She secretly crochets and loves to fish, but she’s best-known for her killer omelets.
Photo Credit: Tina Gutierrez Photography