Richard Stoltzman, Clarinet
Richard Stoltzman’s virtuosity, musicianship and sheer personal magnetism have made him one of today’s most sought-after concert artists. As soloist with more than a hundred orchestras, as a captivating recitalist and chamber music performer, as an innovative jazz artist, and as a prolific recording artist, two-time Grammy® Award winner Stoltzman has defied categorization, dazzling critics and audiences alike throughout many musical genres.
Stoltzman graduated from Ohio State University with a double major in music and mathematics. He earned his 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. As a ten-year participant in the Marlboro Music Festival, Stoltzman gained extensive chamber music experience, and subsequently became a founding member of the noted ensemble TASHI, which made its debut in 1973.
Since then, Stoltzman’s unique style of playing the clarinet has earned him an international reputation as he has opened up possibilities for the instrument that no one could have predicted. He gave the first clarinet recitals in the histories of both the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall, and in 1986, he became the first wind player to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Sanford Medal by the Yale School of Music. His talents as a jazz performer as well as a classical artist have been heard far beyond his annual tours. He has performed or recorded with such jazz and pop greats as Gary Burton, the Canadian Brass, Chick Corea, Judy Collins, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Keith Jarrett, the King’s Singers, George Shearing, Wayne Shorter, Mel Tormé, Spyro Gyra founder Jeremy Wall and Kazumi Watanabe. His commitment to new music has resulted in the commissioning and premiere of numerous new works for the clarinet, including “Fantasma/Cantos” by Toru Takemitsu, the 1994 winner of Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, “Landscapes with Blues” by Stephen Hartke, a concerto by Einojuhani Rautavaara which premiered with conductor Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and “TRIO 2009” written for him, cellist Lynn Harrell and pianist Robert Levin by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Yehudi Wyner.
Richard Stoltzman has a discography numbering over 60 releases on BMG/RCA, SONY Classical, MMC, BIS, Albany and other labels, including a Grammy-winning recording of Brahms Sonatas with Richard Goode. Among Stoltzman’s most beloved releases are “Amber Waves”, a CD of American works, and the Trios of Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma, which won Stoltzman his second Grammy® Award. Recent releases include the acclaimed recordings of Hartke’s “Landscapes with Blues” with IRIS, conducted by Michael Stern (Naxos), a New York Times “Best of 2003”, Rautavaara’s Clarinet Concerto recorded with Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki Philharmonic, released on Ondine, an All-Bach recording, “Vibrations and Fantasies”(BMG Japan, 2008), as well as works of Debussy, Tchaikovsky and Weber (Navona Records, 2008), among others. His newest orchestral recording features William Bolcom’s “Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra” and Clare Fischer’s “The Duke, Swee’pea and Me” (Marquis Classics, 2009).
Richard Stoltzman continues to be a trailblazer for his instrument and his arrangement and performance of Debussy’s “Maid with the Flaxen Hair”(Navona Records, 2009) was chosen as one of only three tracks to be pre-loaded on the new Microsoft’s Windows® System 7 release. Bach’s “Chromatic Fantasy in D minor,” “performed so persuasively and exquisitely”(Baltimore Sun), as well as his reflections on the composer, that appear in the Michael Lawrence’s Documentary Film, “Bach & friends” have been singled out as “brilliant” (Huffington Post). Live performances have accompanied screenings at the official launch at the January 2010 EG conference in Carmel, CA and World Premiere at Symphony Space in New York City (May 2010).
Mr. Stoltzman’s Summer 2010 includes an eclectic mix of performances, such as a duo recital with guitarist Eliot Fisk at Boston’s Jordan Hall, a return to the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut for Mozart Serenade, and helps to open the new venue for the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Cape Ann with Jazz and Classics. The 10-11 Season includes collaborative performances with the New York Chamber Soloists at UCLA Live! in Los Angeles, CA, UA Presents in Tucson, AZ and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; several of these performances also reprise his collaboration with renowned pianist Menahem Pressler. Other collaborations include a partnership with the Klezmatics at the University of Texas, Austin, a residency and tour with the University of Northern Florida Jazz Ensemble, and Bach and Brahms in recital with pianist Simone Dinnerstein. Orchestral performances include works of Copland, Corigliano, Mozart, and Rossini. Throughout the season, Stoltzman will also continue his commitment to help bring music to children of all ages as an active Board Member of Young Audiences.
Past season highlights have featured Stoltzman’s performances of Toru Takemitsu’s Fantasma Cantos with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, as well as at the composers official 75th birthday memorial tribute in Japan, Mozart Concerto performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia and at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, marking Stoltzman’s 25th appearance at the Lincoln Center festival. Performances throughout the US, Canada and Europe of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Clarinet Concerto, Duo recitals with pianists Lukas Foss and Emanuel Ax, with whom he premiered Yehudi Wyner’s “Commedia,”, as well as performances and tours with the American, Borromeo, Emerson, Orion, Takacs, and Tokyo String Quartets are also highlights. Extended residencies have taken Stoltzman to numerous orchestras including and major universities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Especially memorable are concerts of jazz and classics with his son, pianist Peter John Stoltzman. Father and Son have performed together around the globe and were recently featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” and “Weekend Edition” as well as “Voice of America” radio. For their extraordinary talent on the stage, in the classroom, and throughout the community, WGBH radio in Boston called the Stoltzmans “New England’s First Family of Classical Music”.
Over the years, Stoltzman has received numerous requests for the music to the enchanting arrangements and original works that can be heard on his recordings and in live performance. Amateur and professional clarinetists alike are now in luck as they can finally enjoy this music published in two appealing volumes entitled “ARIA,” which features the music from the BMG recording of the same name, and “The Richard Stoltzman Songbook,” a collection of jazz and classics, both published by Carl Fischer.
Richard Stoltzman, resides in Massachusetts and is a passionate Boston Red Sox baseball fan. He is also a Cordon Bleu trained pastry chef.