Richard Stoltzman

Richard Stoltzman's virtuosity, musicianship and sheer personal magnetism have made him one of today's most sought-after concert artists. As soloist with over a hundred orchestras, a captivating recitalist, an innovative jazz artist, and a prolific recording artist, this two-time Grammy Award winner has defied categorization, dazzling critics and audiences alike throughout many musical genres. Stoltzman's unique way with 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 at both the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall, and became the first wind player to receive the Avery Fisher Prize. He has performed or recorded with such jazz and pop greats as Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Judy Collins, Eddie Gomez, Woody Herman, Keith Jarrett, Mel Torme, and Spyro Gyra founder Jeremy Wall. His commitment to new music has resulted in numerous premieres, including acclaimed clarinet works by Steve Reich, Toru Takemitsu, Stephen Hartke and Einojuhani Rautavaara. Richard Stoltzman's discography numbers well over sixty recordings and he has won Grammy Awards for his recordings of the Brahms Sonatas with Richard Goode and Trios of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax.

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Practicing Tips

"After forty years, I am still trying to heed my own teachers practicing advice: take frequent breaks!"

A week in the life...

On December 1, 2009, Richard Stoltzman and countless other students, friends, and admirers of Kalmen Opperman gathered at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall for a concert saluting the master clarinetist who is Mr. Stoltzman's teacher. The concert featured solo works written and arranged by Mr. Opperman, as well as duets, trios, and a show-stopping clarinet choir.

Mr. Stoltzman will return from New York this week to begin rehearsals with acclaimed pianist Judith Stillman and renowned 'cellist Michael Reynolds for their upcoming trio performance at Rhode Island College and for their approaching recording collaboration.

This week Mr. Stoltzman will also be engaged teaching at New England Conservatory and rehearsing with the Borromeo Quartet, with whom he will be performing the World-Premiere of the late Andrew Imbrie's Clarinet Quintet for the Harvard Musical Association. The piece was completed by professor Hi Kyung Kim of USCS.

National Gallery of Art

On Sunday, November 22, Mr. Stoltzman and composer/pianist Yehudi Wyner will present a program of American composers' works at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The performance will take place at 6:30 PM and includes Mr. Wyner's piece, Commedia.

Mr. Wyner is currently writing a new work for Richard Stoltzman, Lynn Harrell ('cello), and Robert Levin (piano), which will be premiered in March.

National Philharmonic

Mr. Stoltzman will be performing works of Mozart, Gershwin, and Copland this weekend with the National Philharmonic in North Bethesda, Maryland (USA). The concert will be on October 17 at 8pm.

Welcome to the blog of acclaimed clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

Welcome to Richard Stoltzman's blog. It has been a very busy summer with performances all around the US and in Italy. Anyone in the Northwest part of the US is encouraged to come and hear Mr. Stoltzman perform Mozart with the Salem (Oregon) Chamber Orchestra and conductor Susan Davenny Wyner on September 19 or 20. Composer and Pianist Yehudi Wyner and Mr. Stoltzman will be giving a recital on the 18th of September at Willamette University, featuring works by Mr. Wyner, Bach, Gershwin, and Brahms.

Simone Dinnerstein and Richard Stoltzman, March 2011

Simone Dinnerstein and Richard Stoltzman, March 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of mouthpiece do you use?
I play on a mouthpiece made by Kalmen Opperman.

Q: What type of clarinet do you play?
My clarinets are Buffet R-13 clarinets (both A and B-flat). They have gold-plated keys and are worked on by Mr. Opperman.

Q: What reeds do you use?
Vandoren White Master reeds, size 3.

Q: What type of ligature do you use?
I play on a Buffet ligature, which was reworked for me by my teacher, Kalmen Opperman. I also use an M. Martin ligature which is very similar. When I'm testing out reeds, I use a Ratterree to save time.

Q: How much do you practice every day?
It would be difficult to know the exact number of hours every day, but I take the clarinet out when I wake up and come back to it all throughout the day.

Q: Where can we find your concert information?
In addition to this blog, you can check my website, Frank Salomon Associates' website (links are listed just to the right of these posts), or contact/friend me on FaceBook.

Q: When and why did you start using double lip embouchure?
I switched to double lip after hearing a recording of Schubert's Der Hirt Auf Dem Felsen for soprano, clarinet, and piano with Benita Valente, Harold Wright, and Rudolph Serkin. Wright's gorgeous legato and sublime homogeneous sound was so inspiring. I discovered that he used double lip embouchure. He suggested I work with Kalmen Opperman. Mr. Opperman basically tore my playing apart and rebuilt it again based on his philosophy of sound and understanding of technique.

I find double lip feels organic and natural for me. It allows for subtle variations in the amount of mouthpiece and reed inside of my mouth. It also seems to allow for greater variety in tone color.

Richard Stoltzman and Mika Yoshida rehearse at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall

Richard Stoltzman and Mika Yoshida rehearse at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall

Patrick Wilkins, composer

Check out two neat pieces for clarinet and piano by composer Patrick Wilkins! They are available as audio tracks at: . You can contact Mr. Wilkins to order the pieces at