Clarinetist’s legacy lives on at BGSU

Renowned clarinetist and Eastman School of Music professor Stanley Hasty saw greatness in BGSU’s College of Musical Arts. Hasty had presented master classes at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2008, and he chose to leave a collection of materials, music and instruments to Kevin Schempf, his former student who currently is sharing his version of a Hasty education with clarinet students at BGSU.

“Mr. Hasty was aware that our College of Musical Arts and its faculty are known for turning out great graduates and professionals,” Schempf said about Hasty’s connection to BGSU. “He loved to teach, and he knew that teaching our students is what we do best here.”

Hasty was a masterful teacher, and he demanded the very best from his students, Schempf said. “He had a unique gift for making the music understandable and sound beautiful by breaking down the mystery of music into simple principles.“

While Hasty was arguably one of the best clarinet teachers of the 20th century, he also was a man of few words, Schempf recalled. “He didn’t teach us to be like him, but he would first teach us to read and perform music in his way and then help us find a way to make it our own,” he added.

And making music his own is exactly what Schempf has done following his Eastman School of Music education with Professor Hasty. Schempf started his professional career as a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and the United States Coast Guard Band, and he has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Toledo Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. He recently performed for two weeks with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and appeared with them at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City… He also has played internationally in Germany, Russia, Sweden, China and Japan, and serves as solo clarinetist with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. However much like his Eastman professor, Schempf has discovered his real passion is teaching. He has been teaching clarinet at BGSU for 13 years and loves the opportunity to work with talented young musicians.

It is that strong commitment to teaching that most likely contributed to Schempf and BGSU being gifted the collection. “I am honored to have the collection in my possession,” he said, because admittedly it could have gone to any number of other Hasty protégés who have had acclaimed careers. He believes it was because Hasty knew “BG is one of those schools where faculty and students are part of a melting pot with a significant amount of diversity and a passion for excellence,” Schempf said. Hasty also didn’t want the collection to be about him, so BGSU’s College of Musical Arts, where education is at the core of the curriculum, seemed to be a good fit.

The collection includes one or two boxes of Hasty’s personal scores, three volumes of hand-written orchestral books, the canes and equipment he used to craft clarinet reeds, an untold number of recordings of his and his students, and his prized clarinet. As humble and private as Hasty was, Schempf wants to make sure his greatness is not forgotten. The recordings and scanned copies of the music scores will be shared with the BGSU Music and Sound Recordings Archives in the William T. Jerome Library. Eventually, Schempf will hand off the actual scores and the clarinet to the next generation of great clarinetists whose lives were forever changed because of the impact of his great clarinet professor.