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School of Music
Texas State University-San Marcos
601 University Dr.
San Marcos, Texas 78666
Office: 512-245-2651
Fax: 512-245-8181
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Director's Diary

Director - School of Music

Dr. Thomas S Clark



Celebrating a Teaching Career


– Dr. David Pino has served as Texas State’s sole clarinet professor from 1968 until his retirement in 2012. His consistent excellence always included being a truly caring teacher. He dedicated himself to helping each of his students in his or her own way to make the transition from being a new freshman to being fully prepared to join the music profession after graduation, as either a teacher or performer or both. A consummate artist as well, Dr. Pino has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in several countries. He made two recordings of music for clarinet and piano on the Orion label and authored the well-known book The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing, first published by Scribner's and later published again as a classic in its field by Dover. He is currently writing a series of articles for The Clarinet magazine and working again with Dover, this time toward the publication of many of his transcriptions of art songs for clarinet and piano.

We celebrate David Pino’s legacy of excellence at Texas State!

Spontaneous (musical) combustion


– I should know better than to use the word combustion at a time when Texas is battling drought and devastating wildfires . . .

On this otherwise ordinary Wednesday, two special musical occurrences took place. Neither was literally spontaneous, but both were informal and done just for the experience of doing it.

The first was an after-lunch impromptu performance of our Panorama Steel Band, in their Hawaiian shirts outdoors in the courtyard in front of the Music Building. The group’s director, Prof. Genaro Gonzalez, planned it as a little gift (a lagniappe as New Orleans folks say) for the staff and students. It was a chance for everyone to get some air, forget their report deadlines, jury preparations, looming final exams, and get lost in some very fun music for a few minutes. Caribbean therapy!

Late that afternoon, an impromptu mini-concert took place in the Music Building atrium lobby, our central gathering place for all sorts of activities. Prof. Mary Ellen Cavitt’s music-teachers-in-training had put together a volunteer band/orchestra to get more experience playing on their secondary instrument. Each music-ed-major member also gets practice taking turns conducting the group.

That’s what they shared with those who happened by and gathered to listen – light musical selections, not super polished, but done in earnest, just for the experience. I could tell these individuals are well on their way to becoming wonderful public school music teachers.

Music is breaking out all over this place, with enthusiasm, all the time.

Glimpsing a bright future


–  Another exciting weekend . . . Friday night a captivating production of Street Scene, Kurt Weill’s powerful American opera, in Evans Auditorium. Saturday night in Strahan Coliseum the culminating concert of Feria del Mariachi, our annual festival. School mariachi groups came to San Marcos for a day and a half of workshops and competition. The evening concert featured the winning groups, plus Texas State Youth Mariachi, its prize-winning collegiate Mariachi Nueva Generación, and a leading professional mariachi troop. All fabulous, the best of the best.

        Two highlights – Mariachi Juvenil from Washington Irving Middle School, directed by Texas State alumnus Cirilo Campos, sang (in Spanish) and played brightly, on pitch, with great energy and great smiles. They were not only showing off – they were radiating pride in their culture, their skill, and sharing their pure joy. Fantástico! Later 8-year-old Sabastian De La Cruz, accompanied by our college mariachi,  sang La Charreada/ Los Laureles the same way – clear, strong, fearless . . . beautiful.         When I had a chance to give a brief welcome to the audience of a couple thousand people, all I can remember saying was, “I feel like we’ve seen and heard the future of Texas, maybe the future of America . . . and isn’t it a bright, wonderful future for all of us?!”         I had another glimpse of the bright future the next evening, Sunday, when two of our students gave their degree recitals. Celeste Curiel is a competition-winning singer with her own first album just out. And graduate saxophonist Eden Gonzalez’s mother, sister, and other family drove all the way up from Roma, Texas, to hear his master’s recital. Older and much more trained than Sabastian, these two musicians also have a wonderful future ahead. And they will share its joy and their passion with all of us. That’s what musicians do! 



A typical day and a half in the Texas State School of Music . . .


– A random 36 hours at the School . . . Wednesday noon I did a lightning round of visiting classes and rehearsals. In two hours I witnessed an extraordinary string of fabulous learning experiences: a music lit class listening through and discussing Symphony Fantastique; an elementary music teaching class practicing a children’s play with songs; music ed students learning to play violin (not their main instruments); world music class watching a video of gamelan music from Bali, then with expert coaching learning to execute those amazingly complex rhythms; a jazz big band doing the same, working through some fast jazz licks; and choral singers intensely rehearsing Carmina Burana; later that evening, those and other singers rehearsing in Evans Aud for an upcoming opera production.

The next day, Thursday, more of the same – another typical day. I’ll give you just the highlights: At 4 PM many of us were glued to the Web watching and listening to a streaming of the Texas State Wind Ensemble performing live in Seattle in a concert of exciting 20th-century and 21st-century wind band music. At 7 PM, Musicians Forum featured guests from Serbia talking about musicianship today in Europe. Finally, at 8 PM, the Somos Músicos concert featured students performing to a packed crowd of fellow students in the Recital Hall. There were solos on flute, trombone, tuba, and voice, a guitar quartet, live improvised electronic music and video, salsa music, and percussion galore! It was a three-ring circus (no animals), but there was also a lot of learning going on. Another typical day . . .