About Maria

I enjoy a varied career as a freelance performer and private instructor based out of Portland, Maine. As a classically trained clarinetist, I have performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the PORTopera Orchestra, the Maine State Ballet Orchestra, the Bowdoin International Music Festival Orchestra, and many more. In addition to orchestral performance, I specialize in the performance of new solo and chamber music and am passionate about interpreting brand new works. I have premiered pieces for the clarinet and bass clarinet at numerous new music festivals, including the Portland Conservatory of Music's Contemporary Music Festivals, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music's New Music Collective Concerts in Brooklyn, NY, and the Composer's Voice Concert Series in New York City. Currently, I enjoy premiering works as part of the neofolk chamber ensemble Forêt Endormie, and recorded on their 2020 full length album "Une voile déchirée."

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I earned a Bachelors and Masters of Music in Performance from the University of Southern Maine, where I studied clarinet, bass clarinet, and pedagogy with Dr. Thomas Parchman. During that time I received the Bay Chamber Competition's Summer Music Woodwind Solo Prize for excellence in chamber music performance. Other influential teachers I have had the priviliege to study with include New York clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg, oboist and chamber music coach Neil Boyer, and conductor Dr. Peter Martin.

 

I continue my study, now in classical and folk music from the Middle East with special focus on Arabic maqamat (melodic modes), iqa'at (rhythmic modes), and the art of taqsim (improvisation). Primary teachers include master Armenian oudist and clarinetist Malcolm Barsamian and Middle Eastern percussionist Eric LaPerna. I attend Simon Shaheen's world-renowned Arabic Music Retreats where I have studied the nay flute intensely with Bassam Saba and ethnomusicologist Dr. Ali Jihad Racy. I was a founding member of the Portland-based chamber ensemble Zapion (2010 - 2020) in which I played folk, classical and art music from Turkish and Arabic traditions on clarinet and nay.

I joyfully maintain my private teaching studio in Portland and Gorham, ME and online. In addition, I am the clarinet instructor and chamber music coach for the Southern Maine Music Academy and Portland Youth Wind Ensemble both at the University of Southern Maine, and am on applied music faculty at Bates College. 

Projects

Forêt Endormie

Neo-classical chamber folk ensemble, more info here.

Chamber Music / New Music

Martin Perry, piano

Live performance at the Portland Conservatory of Music's Contemporary Music Festival; March 11, 2010

Benjamin Heller, piano

Live performance in Corthell Hall at the University of Southern Maine; March 6, 2009

Middle Eastern Music

Ongoing individual and group study of Arabic and Turkish classical and folk music.

Zapion: Nathan Kolosko, oud; Sarah Mueller, violin; Maria Wagner, nay and clarinet

Zapion: Nathan Kolosko, oud; Sarah Mueller, violin; Eric LaPerna, percussion; Leon Harkleroad, accordion; Gary Witner, guitar; Maria Wagner nay and clarinet

Swan Kirtan

Multi-faith devotional call and response chanting ensemble, more info here.

Robin Jellis, vocals; Ashok Nalamalapu, vocals and harmonium; Randy Lindsey, guitar; Josh Miller, percussion; and Gershone Hendelberg, piano

Press

Zapion presents Sufi, Turkish, and classical Arabic styles
Portland Press Herald; November 3, 2016
 
"Listeners with ears attuned to Western conventions are bound to find an elegant simplicity in the music Zapion champions."  Read more


The Jar Project presents Seven Jarring Dances for Clarinet(s) and Steel-String Guitar
Performing Arts of New England; March 5, 2011
 
"Saturday’s performance by Sonenberg on guitar and recent USM School of Music graduate Maria Wagner on clarinets, brought a delightfully auditory element to a colorful, structured show.

The third movement, “Boldly, Bluesy,” required Wagner to pick up the bass clarinet. The deep richness of the instrument filled all the corners of the room, and the fragility of the higher register had a lovely and surprising timbre when mixed in unison with the steel guitar." Read more
 
 
Contemporary program an exhilirating sonic thrill ride
Portland Press Herald; March 11, 2010
 
"Sunday night's concert at Woodfords Congregational Church, produced by the Portland Conservatory of Music, was the very model of what music-making should be -- entertaining, beautifully played, intellectually stimulating and sometimes moving. The oldest work on the program was composed in 1933, and most only yesterday.
 
The evening started out very well, with ''Six Small Pieces for Clarinet and Piano,'' by Dan Sonenberg, who teaches composition at the University of Southern Maine. The virtuoso miniatures, often highly descriptive, such as ''Bluebird-Lilke,''  and ''Primate Behavior,'' were brilliantly performed by Martin Perry, piano, and Maria Wagner, clarinet."