Teri Golas “Case Studies”

Teri Golas "Case Studies"Photo collage of my clarinet case as it appears in Terri's collection, "Case Studies".

All of our ROCO performances at St. John the Divine in Houston are followed by a reception that offers not only an opportunity for the members of the audience and the musicians to interact, but also showcases the work of a different artist for every concert.  Last fall, the featured artist was Terri Golas, the wonderful woman who designed my website.

A few years ago, Terri was at one of our ROCO rehearsals and approached several of the musicians to ask if she could photograph our instrument cases.  The project she was working sounded intriguing, so I can’t imagine that anyone refused her request.  As she photographed my case, we had a nice conversation during which she asked me more questions about my case than anyone had ever asked before!  While we weren’t completely sure what she was up to, we all think she’s great, so we happily played along.

Fast forward to last fall when I met her for lunch and she unveiled the most beautiful book featuring a collection of fascinating photos she had taken over the course of several years.  As I looked through, it was fascinating how many cases I was quickly able to connect with their owners, which was obviously one of the points of her study.

In her own words:  “Musician cases are so much more than carriers for their instruments. They contain memories, words of encouragement and reminders of home. And they reveal much about the personalities of their owners.

“Case Studies” is a photo essay about musical instrument cases. I began the series in 2009 while working with ROCO, and continue it to this day. Every case tells a story about its owner and his/her journey, family, fears and aspirations. I am honored to share their stories through these photos.”

I wish her book were immediately available for purchase, but it’s an ongoing process.  You can see a few of the photos on her website at terrigolas.com and follow Terri on Instagram @terrigolas.  If you’re as eager for more as I am, contact her through her site to encourage her to continue!

I’ve always loved cases of all sorts, but especially luggage and clarinet cases.  Up until purchasing my current case in 2012, I used a Buffet Pochette, a Marcus Bonna and, for a brief time, a BAM. Each of these cases has great strengths and they all protect the instruments well.  I especially like the Buffet Pochette case which saved my clarinets more than once, and the Marcus Bonna is hands down one of my favorite cases ever, EXCEPT for the fact that it has zip closures rather than clasps.  Though I was spared disaster with those zippers, I had more than a few close calls as the result of my absent mindedness.  So while those cases are great, they aren’t great for me! Meanwhile, on a visit to the Buffet Showroom when my trio, Strata, was in New York to play on the series at Rockefeller University, I saw my current case, fell in love with the colors, and knew I had to have it.  It’s basically a Buffet Tosca case, but with a one-of-a-kind outer shell.  The exterior is carbon fiber and the instrument parts are held securely without moving around in the case, so I know my clarinets are secure.  AND it has clasp closures that lock, so I don’t have to ever again deal with the possibility that I might start to pick up my case only to realize I failed to close it!

TERRI GOLAS is a former professor and arts administrator, now full-time photography artist and traveler. Her photos have been exhibited at Houston Center for Photography, Fotofest, Rice University, and published in Arts+Culture Texas, CultureMap,Houston Press, Houston Chronicle, and Symphony Magazine.