Diane Barger

I am the Hixson-Lied Professor of Clarinet at the Glenn Korff School of Music UNL I enjoy reading, going antique shopping with my husband, and finding “treasures” for my clarinet figurine collection.

My most memorable LSO (I have been a member since 2002) experience was September 2010’s opening season concert. This concert was especially meaningful to me as I had undergone colon cancer surgery earlier that June and was forced to take 6 weeks off from playing the clarinet due to my recovery period after the surgery. In September I was scheduled to appear as soloist with the LSO in McAllister’s X Concerto. Performing this concerto with LSO was something I was looking forward to as a celebration of life after my ordeal earlier that summer. I will never forget how I felt after playing the last note of the concerto, tears rolling down my face as our gracious LSO audience rose to their feet,  hugging our Maestro, and feeling forever grateful that I was able to perform for my family, friends, students, and our wonderful LSO family.

I firmly believe the clarinet chose me.  It was the summer before my 4th grade year, and my sister was involved in summer band camp (she played trombone) at our school (K-12). Both of my parents worked, so my mother took me to band camp with my sister and asked the band director if he could put me to work in some way. Instead of finding some work for me to do, he said, “No, let’s put an instrument in her mouth!” From there, I tried the flute…no sound. Trumpet…you have to be kidding. Then, the clarinet. Instantly, I made a sound and the instrument selected me as its next victim. I immediately began taking private clarinet lessons with the band director’s wife and the rest, as they say, is history, and I have a life sentence playing one of the world’s most beautiful, soulful instruments. The clarinet…and music…helped a once extremely shy young girl come out of her shell and gain confidence in herself in ways she would have never imagined. Before music I was known to bring one of my many puppets to school so I could talk comfortably with friends at the playground (seriously…you should see my puppet collection! I do a very good impersonation of Grover from Sesame Street, if I do say so myself!).