Jenni Brandon’s Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds Performed by Natalie Groom

Jenni Brandon’s Cumulonimbus the King of Clouds was performed by Natalie Groom as the Collington Artist-in-Residence at the Collington Retirement Community at 10450 Lottsford Rd., Bowie, Maryland 20721 on January 1, 2020. Natalie was awarded a residency at this Collington Retirement Community in Bowie, Maryland, as their artist-in-residence, she will perform frequently in addition to coordinating concerts, bringing in guest lecturers, and leading educational seminars.

Natalie Groom is a freelance clarinetist in Washington, D.C. and substitute clarinetist of the Annapolis Symphony and Annapolis Opera. She is the artist-in-residence at Collington Retirement Community, a Junior Board member of Washington Performing Arts, and a volunteer for the Institute for Composer Diversity. This year she performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, collaborated with Yo-Yo M and Esperanza Spalding, won a residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and opened for the National Symphony Orchestra.

Natalie Groom earned her D.M.A. at the University of Maryland, M.B.A. and M.M. at the University of Arizona, and B.M. at Kent State University where she studied with Robert DiLutis, Jerry Kirkbride, Dennis Nygren, Amitai Vardi, Jackie Glazier, and Joseph Minocchi.

Natalie has been a featured soloist with the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra and has performed at The Kennedy Center, New World Center, The Anthem, The Phillips Collection, and Goethe-Institut, among many other venues. Her festival and conference performances include Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Darkwater Women in Music, Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, Clarinetfest 2018 in Belgium, Henri Selmer Clarinet Academy, Miami Music Festival, Orford Centre d’Arts, and an outreach concert at Anacostia High School collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding. A teacher, conductor, and academic, she led the New Horizons clarinet choir and taught Rock and American Popular Music, Business Communications, and clarinet/saxophone lessons in addition to publishing three event reports in the International Clarinet Association journal.

Cumulonimbus: The King of Clouds (clarinet and piano sheet music): The inspiration for this piece comes from a wonderful book titled The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. In this book he describes all types of clouds, from the Stratus all the way up to the Cirrocumulus cloud. I particularly loved his chapter on the Cumulonimbus cloud and the description of the destruction and havoc that this cloud can make. I thought it would be exciting to write a work that represented this cloud and its fury.

The piece begins ominously as a storm approaches and then moves into crashing clusters and the fast fury that a storm like this can bring. The clarinet leaps like hail and lightning, and the piano boldly grows bigger as the storm rages. I try to tell the story of this cloud much in the way that the book describes the cloud, including that “…it can lead to untold loss of life and damage to property. It has also been known to frighten little children with its thunder.”

I had the pleasure to write this work for Marianne Breneman and Philip Amalong of Conundrum, a Cincinnati-based new music ensemble. They premiered the work in Los Angeles on November 12, 2011 at Occidental College during a Synchromy concert.