NY Licorice Ensemble: Licorice Rhapsody


The NY Licorice Ensemble’s first recording distributed in the US, Licorice Rhapsody features the unique clarinet ensemble is heard here in arrangements of iconic music by Gershwin, Bernstein, Pritsker, Coleman and Cooper.


Furious Artisans is pleased to announce the NY Licorice Ensemble’s debut US release Licorice Rhapsody, the anticipated follow up to their debut 2013 release New American Works for Clarinet Ensemble (Japan, NAR, NARD-5052).

The album features stunning arrangements of George Gershwin’s major works, Summertime, Three Preludes, and Rhapsody in Blue (arranged by up-and-coming multi-talented Japanese composer Satoshi Ipponjima), as well as Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Contemporary works by Gene Pritsker, Valerie Coleman and Dan Cooper are also featured in debut arrangements for the group, and demonstrate the group’s passion for grooving New York composers.

Produced by Ayako Oshima & Michiyo Suzuki
Recorded & Mixed by Satoshi Ipponjima of Penguin Record
Graphic Design by Michiyo Suzuki
Photographs by Yuko Kawasaki & Satoshi Ipponjima
Recorded at Chino Cultural Complex, July 23 - 25, 2014
Special thanks to Mr. Tadayoshi Takeda & Central Musical
Instruments Co.,Ltd.

NY Licorice Ensemble

The NY Licorice Ensemble is a group comprised of all Japanese female clarinetists and was founded in 2011 by Ayako Oshima, a clarinetist and a faculty at Juilliard school and Hartt. All of the members studied in New York with the well known clarinetist, Charles Neidich and share the same technique–one that contributes to the group’s pristine and flawless ensemble sound.

NYLE has been performing with increasing frequency in Japan and New York.




American Record Guide

NY Licorice Ensemble was founded by Ayako Oshima, a clarinetist based in New York City. All the members studied in New York with clarinetist Charles Neidich, Ayako’s husband. They are a variety of ages and have performed in Asia, the United States, and Europe. It’s fascinating to hear the sonorities that 11 clarinets can produce. I assumed the sound would be relentlessly squealy, but both the arrangements and performers work to make sure there is solidity in the bass and middle registers.

Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and Preludes are played with sultry rubato. Bernstein’s clarinet sonata is pleasant and unassuming; one misses the piano, but only a bit. On the other hand, one misses all sorts of things in Rhapsody in Blue, but there is still a surprising amount of color. Don Cooper’s easygoing Wind Quintet works well for clarinet ensemble. The finale, ‘the V-funk’, is an exercise in funky syncopation. The players are obviously having fun with this one. Valerie Coleman’s ‘Red Clay and Mississippi Delta’ is an amiable blues by the founder of the Imani Quintet. My favorite of the contemporary pieces is Gene Pritsker’s ‘Grip Three’, an intoxicating riff on lizardlounge jazz—perfect for a chaos of clarinets. The playing is always on a high level; everything is lean, lively, and impeccably in tune. Clarinet fanciers will have a terrific time with this. © Jack Sullivan, 2015 American Record Guide

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