Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Marina Sturm, Chair

Second Committee Member

Janis McKay

Third Committee Member

Anthony Barone

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Grim

Graduate Faculty Representative

Louis Kavouras

Number of Pages



The principal clarinet part of Alberto Ginastera's Variaciones concertantes (1953) requires the performer to execute a number of exposed passages that are considered impractical by many clarinetists as published. The Boosey & Hawkes edition of Variaciones concertantes was published for the B-flat clarinet. On account of this clarinet choice, the part exceeds the traditional upper range of the instrument in the third variation (Variazione in modo di Scherzo per Clarinetto ). Moreover, it requires very awkward fingering patterns in passages because they are written in the Phrygian mode of C-sharp. To avoid some of these technical obstacles, many professional clarinetists alter the exposed passages in a number of ways. These alterations include playing certain measures down an octave or transposing specific passages so they can be played using an A clarinet, C clarinet, or D clarinet. No standard performance practice for these passages has developed, however, either in auditions or in orchestral settings. I am going to propose solutions to the problems clarinetists encounter in Variaciones concertantes in order to facilitate its performance.

In order to illuminate the specific problems that confront clarinetists who perform this work, I will place Variaciones concertantes in the wider context of Ginastera's oeuvre. I will do this by examining how Ginastera composed for the clarinet in his other orchestral works, focusing on changes that emerge over the course of his career. I will also investigate Ginastera's musical education and experience to identify factors and influences that may have affected the way he wrote for the clarinet. After establishing possible influences and a stylistic context, I will explain the musical structure and processes of Variaciones concertantes , and study the third variation in the context of the entire work.

Excerpts from the third variation appear to have been requested more frequently on orchestral clarinet auditions in the United States since the year 2000. Because of the relatively recent appearance of these excerpts on auditions, there are no standard performance practices set for this work as there are for many works from the Classical and Romantic periods. A survey of professional clarinetists in major symphony orchestras in the United States and examination of commercially available recordings of Variaciones concertantes reveals a range of solutions for practical and feasible performance practices. Using these performance practice solutions, I will produce a number of alternative readings of the part for performers' reference. These alternative readings, along with my performance practice solutions, will be useful to clarinetists who intend to audition or perform the music.


Alberto; Argentina; Clarinet – Fingering; Clarinetists; Communication and the arts; Ginastera; Alberto; 1916-1983; Music – Performance; Orchestral auditions; Orchestral excerpts; Performance practice (Music); Variaciones concertantes


Composition | Music Performance | Music Theory

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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