Les Hicken, conductor
Erik Franklin, clarinet
Richard Strauss: Serenade for 13 wind instruments
Robert Kurka: The Good Soldier Schweik
Erik Franklin: Solo Clarinet (Premiere)
Igo Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Kurt Weill: Little Three-Penny-Opera for Symphonic Winds
Richard Strauss was the son of an extraordinary horn player. Even the notoriously cranky composer Richard Wagner was quoted as saying “when he plays his horn, one cannot stay cross with him.” Did Richard’s dad influence his Serenade in E-flat? Probably. Either way, you can’t miss this chance to hear clarinet soloist Erik Franklin and the outstanding winds of the Greenville Symphony in a program that features just them. It’s a rare and wonderful opportunity to focus on the instruments of the orchestra powered by breath alone.
Erik Franklin, a Furman graduate and prominent American clarinetist is a former student of Les Hicken, and has written a new work which will be premiered on this program. South Carolina history is happening here.
Leslie Hicken, Conductor
Leslie W. Hicken, Professor Emeritus and the Charles E. Daniel Professor of Music, taught on the faculty of Furman University from the fall of 1993 until his retirement in 2019. Within the music department, his responsibilities included the directorship of the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble; professor of music education and instrumental conducting; and Assistant Director with the Marching Band. He was also the Director of the Furman Music by the Lake Concert Series and the Lakeside Concert Band. Currently, Dr. Hicken is the Artistic Director of the Carolina Youth Symphony and Co-Director of the Poinsett Wind Symphony. During the 2021-2022 academic year, he was the Visiting Professor at Clemson University as conductor of their Symphony Orchestra. This year, he is the interim Director of the Wind Ensemble at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
Prior to his appointment at Furman, Hicken was Director of Bands at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. In addition to his duties at Youngstown State, he was the director of the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra and a clarinetist in the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Earlier in his career, Hicken was employed for five years as an instrumental music teacher in the Durham (NC) County School system. He began his musical career as a clarinetist in the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, NY.
In the fall of 2000, Hicken completed a residency with the public schools of Volta Redonda, Rio de Janeiro State in Brazil preparing a concert with their String Orchestra. Hicken received the Outstanding Bandmaster of the Year Award in 2000 and the Outstanding Contributor Award in 2002 from the South Carolina Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. In 2002, he was elected into the American Bandmasters Association. In the spring of 2010, he was inducted into the South Carolina Band Directors Association Hall of Fame. In 2015, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities organization. He is Past President of the College Band Directors National Association Southern Division and the South Carolina Band Directors Association.
Dr. Hicken received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Doctorate in Music Education from Indiana University. He studied clarinet with D. Stanley Hasty, Leon Russianoff, and Bernard Portnoy; and conducting with J. Marion Magill, Robert Klotman, and Ray Cramer.
Guest Artist: Erik Franklin, Clarinet
Award-winning composer and clarinetist Erik Franklin balances a vibrant, varied career on and off the stage. He has given concerts in nearly all fifty states and throughout Europe, performing for audiences large and small in venues from veterans’ homes to Carnegie Hall. A former member of the United States Army Field Band (Washington, D.C.), Franklin now performs as a soloist and chamber musician across the country as a member of the Ann Street Trio and the Heartwood Duo.
As a composer, Franklin is equally at home in the worlds of vocal and instrumental music. His art songs delight performers and audiences alike, with his penchant for writing lyrical, expressive melodies. His works have earned prizes from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and at the 2023 songSLAM festival in New York City. His debut opera, a collaboration with Facing West Shadows in San Francisco, is slated to premiere in the Fall of 2024. As an instrumental composer, Franklin has been commissioned by the Interlochen Arts Academy Band and the United States Air Force Academy Band.
Franklin is a passionate and experienced educator. He is a current faculty member at the Peabody Preparatory Institute and formerly served on the faculty at Towson University and the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. In the summer, he directs the Indiana Clarinet Experience—a music camp he co-founded in 2014.
Franklin holds a B.M. in Clarinet Performance from Furman University and an D.M. in Clarinet Performance from the renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is a South Carolina native and currently lives in Baltimore, MD. He is happily involved in his local arts community, where he enjoys hosting concerts in his home, drinking coffee, reading books, and nursing his ice cream addiction.