Stephen Williamson, clarinet
Stephen Williamson is the newly appointed principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, he served for two seasons as Ricardo Muti’s principal clarinetist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, before that, eight seasons as James Levine’s principal clarinet in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Steve also was recently appointed principal clarinet with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra in Japan under Seiji Ozawa.
As a core member of the MET Chamber Ensemble, Williamson performed extensivelyperformed with James Levine as soloist and as chamber artist. In August 2011, he performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan under Fabio Luisi. In January 2012, Williamson joined Luisi and the MET Orchestra as soloist in a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at Carnegie Hall.
Williamson serves on the clarinet faculty at Columbia University and the Mannes College of Music in New York City, as well as at the Pacific Music Festival. He has recorded for the Sony Classics, Telarc, CRI, BMG, Naxos and Decca labels and can be heard on numerous film soundtracks.
Williamson received his bachelor’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and his master’s degree from the Juilliard School. As a Fulbright Scholar, he furthered his studies at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where he collaborated with various members of the Berlin Philharmonic. His past teachers include Peter Rieckhoff, Charles Neidich, Kenneth Grant and Michael Webster. Williamson was the grand prize winner of the 1994 Boosey & Hawkes/Buffet Crampon First Annual North American Clarinet Competition. Other past awards include the Concert ArtistsGuild Competition as well as the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition.
A long-time Selmer-Paris and Vandoren Artist, Mr. Williamson currently plays Selmer Signature clarinets and uses Vandoren traditional reeds with a James Pyne JX/BC mouthpiece. He resides in Nyack, NY with his wife Jill, sons Ryan, Connor, Matthew and their dog Lila.