Instrument: Clarinet | AMT Products Used: WS/WS – Studio
“I used the mike for Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs in the arrangement Lukas Foss did for me with symphony orchestra, and the balance was satisfying. Finally I can move to the bass section or duet with the percussion section in Bill Douglas’ Feast with symphony orchsetra and not worry about being heard. ” – Richard Stoltzman
“His mastery of the clarinet and his impeccable musicianship are no secret by now, but one who has not heard him play for a time can easily forget how rich and fluid the instrument can sound from top to bottom of its range. If Mr. Stoltzman is not one of a kind, who might the others be?” – The New York Times
Richard Stoltzman’s virtuosity, musicianship and sheer personal magnetism have catapulted him to the highest ranks of international acclaim, making him one of today’s most sought-after concert artists. As a soloist with more than a hundred orchestras, a captivating recitalist and chamber music performer, and an innovative jazz artist, Stoltzaman has defied categorization, dazzling critics and audiences alike with his performances of all genres of music.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of a jazz-playing railwayman, Richard Stoltzman spent his early years in San Francisco and then moved to Cincinnati. His musical education started with his father’s saxophone sessions and informal church concerts. After high school in Cincinnati, Stoltzman entered Ohio State University as a double-major in music and mathematics.
Stoltzman went on to earn a Master of Music degree at Yale University while studying with Keith Wilson, and later worked toward a doctoral degree with Kalmen Opperman at Columbia University. In 1967, he began what was to be a ten-year association with the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Marlboro’s focus on chamber music put him in direct contact with such musical luminaries as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals and Marcel Moyse – artists who were to have a profound effect on the way Stoltzman regarded his music-making. Through musical relationships established there, he became a founding member of the chamber music group TASHI in 1973.
Since then, Stoltzman’s unique way with the clarinet has earned him an international reputation as he has opened up possibilities for the instrument no one could have predicted, including presenting the first clarinet recitals in the histories of both the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. In 1986, he became the first wind player to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, joining such other eminent recipients as Richard Goode and Yo-Yo Ma. Hailed for doing for the clarinet what Rampal and Galway have done for the flute, Stoltzman has appeared as soloist with Levine and the New York Philharmonic, Dohnànyi and the Orchestra of La Scala, Chailly and the Berlin Radio Symphony, Leppard and the English Chamber Orchestra, and Eschenbach and Previn with the Pittsburgh Symphony. As a member of TASHI, he has premiered works by Takemitsu and Wuorinen with the Boston Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.
His talents as a jazz performer as well as a classical artist, have been heard the world over. Stoltzman’s recital at the Bayreuth Opera House caused a scandal for the local presenter, who had requested that the program include jazz – a precedent-shattering event for Wagner’s opera house but one that brought a cheering, capacity audience that demanded five encores. He has appeared twice at the innovative Tokyo Music Joy Festival, collaborating with Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Wayne Shorter, Yuji Takahashi, and the New Japan Philharmonic. He has also appeared as “Artist of the Week” at the Edinburgh Festival, the Hong Kong Festival and Australia’s Adelaide Festival, playing recitals, chamber music, and jazz concerts, including some late-night jazz at the Adelaide Festival Club. He opened the second century season of the Boston Pops in a gala concert with John Williams and blues singer Joe Williams and was hailed for his Carnegie Hall recital with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, with whom he toured as soloist for two seasons. Stoltzman recently performed a concert devoted to American jazz at the Evian International Music Festival – a first in the festival’s history. Other jazz or pop greats with whom he has performed or recorded include Mel Tormé, Claude Bolling, Spyro Gyro founder Jeremy Wall, Judy Collins, George Shearing, Gary Burton, Dave Samuels and the Canadian Brass and the King’s Singers.
Stoltzman’s interest in new music is reflected in a continuing programme he has established to commission works for the clarinet. In 1990, he was approached by five major U.S. presenters – in New York, Boston, Washington, Ann Arbor and Houston, all members of the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators – to participate in a joint commission. The composer chosen for “The ISPAA Commission” was Nicholas Thorne, whose new clarinet sonata Stoltzman premiered in Houston in September 1992. Between June 1994 and September 1995, he recorded twelve new concertos written for him with the Warsaw Philharmonic and conductor George Manahan and three others with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony. Additional works recently written for Stoltzman include a clarinet sonata by Timothy Greatbatch, commissioned by Pennsylvania State University and premiered there in 1990; a sonata by Clare Fischer, premiered in September 1992; and an unusual collaboration with the Lewitzky Dance Company, in which Stoltzman actually takes part in the choreography while performing the music. This unique project, commissioned by UCLA and Northeastern University and premiered during the 1990-91 season, was choreographed by Stoltzman’s long-time friend Bella Lewitzky, to a new work by William Thomas McKinley, whose participation was made possible by a prestigious “Meet the Composer” grant. Other works written for Richard Stoltzman include Steve Reich’s “New York Counterpoint”, and Toru Takemitsu’s “Fantasma/Cantos”, a clarinet concerto commissioned by the BBC for BBC Wales Symphony and premiered in the USA in 1992 with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony. This concerto was also performed at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in 1994 and received a 1995 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Composition.
In August 1993, Stoltzman was featured in “CONCERTO”, a six-part television series featuring host Dudley Moore, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra. CONCERTO, created by the producers of the widely-acclaimed ‘ORCHESTRA’ series featuring Moore and Sir Georg Solti, was aired over cable television on The Learning Channel and on England’s prestigious Channel Four, and continues to be broadcast worldwide. The programme featuring Stoltzman has been praised by critics and audiences alike and was the recipient of an Emmy Award in the International Performing Arts category.