Maestro's Premium Blend Trio at MFA Sunday

The Premium Blend Trio will perform in concert this Sunday, July 21, as part of the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg’s Marly Music Series. The 2 p.m. performance will feature Maestro Mark Sforzini on bassoon, clarinetist Brian Moorhead and pianist Justin Havard, playing music by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Glinka and Strauss – as well as the Sforzini Concerto for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano.

“Brian and I sat next to each other for 15 years as principal bassoon and principal clarinet in the Florida Orchestra,” Maestro reflects. “The two of us developed great trust and respect for each other through the years. You can become very attuned to the person next to you, and we often breathed and shaped phrases as one.”

“Premium Blend” was Moorhead’s description of the tonal energy of their two instruments playing together.

For three decades, Moorhead has been on the University of South Florida School of Music faculty; he retired from TFO in 2017, after 44 years. Moorhead has premiered many Sforzini compositions. His wife, Marian, once surprised him with a commissioned work – a sextet for winds and bass by Sforzini – as a wedding anniversary present.

Havard is an accomplished director, pianist and singer who spent more than a decade working in the Tampa Bay area.

The Sforzini Concerto for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano was commissioned by Brian Moorhead, Belinda Dumont and Gayle Bertelstein.

“It was a lot of fun writing for someone whose playing I feel I know so well,” Maestro says. “I’ve explored the highs and lows of the clarinet extensively, plus there are a number of fast passages for the two instruments to execute together in octaves.

“Premium Blend also makes me think of coffee! As a juxtaposition to some of the more lyrical writing, there are a lot of rapid fire exchanges that ‘percolate’ through the music.”

Sforzini’s Double Concerto is also scored for full orchestral accompaniment, and was premiered by the Tampa Bay Symphony in 2018 (watch below).