Michigan State University, Lansing Symphony Orchestra
Israeli-American clarinetist Guy Yehuda is recognized as one of the most outstanding and unique talents on the international concert stage today. The top prizewinner of several international competitions, such as the Heida Hermanns and Fischoff, Yehuda was hailed by composer John Corigliano as “One of the most awe-inspiring clarinetists today.” He has toured extensively in Europe, North America, Israel and China. As principal clarinetist, he has performed with the Israel Philharmonic, Lucerne Contemporary Festival Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others, as well as guest clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Yehuda performed on tours of Europe and the U.S. under the batons of top conductors including Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur and Daniel Barenboim. He performed and collaborated with the world’s top composers and performers including Pierre Boulez, Steve Reich, John Corigliano, Menahem Pressler from the Beaux-Arts Trio, and the Cypress and Harrington String Quartets. A highly demanded musician, he has performed as soloist and chamber musician at the Spoleto, Verbier, Lucerne, Ottawa Chamber Music, Parry Sound, and Domain Forget festivals, and at the Israeli Chamber Music Festivals of Kfar Blum and Haifa.
Yehuda is a sought-after recitalist throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He has performed as soloist in prestigious halls and venues such as Carnegie Hall, Domain Forget, (Canada), Chicago Symphony Hall, Palacio Fuz and Casa di Musica in Portugal, Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv and Dame Myra Hess Chamber Series. He has appeared regularly as a guest artist on Public Radio across the U.S and abroad, and he has been a frequent artist on a number of live recordings for CBC. His discography includes: Music by French composer Jean Francaix, on the XII-21 Canadian Label; several CD recordings with Albany records; and the most recent release of the Brahms and Reger Sonatas on the Blue Griffin record label in 2015.
Yehuda has given master classes throughout the U.S, Canada, Mexico, Europe, China and Israel. He is a Selmer-Paris and D’Addario Reeds international performing artist and product consultant. He held visiting faculty positions at Indiana University and the University of Virginia, and has been the clarinet professor at the University of North Florida. Currently, he is the Associate Professor and Artist Teacher of Clarinet at Michigan State University College of Music, and principal clarinetist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. He is the clarinet faculty resident at the Vianden Summer Festival in Europe, Aria International Music Festival in Massachusetts and Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy in California.
Orchestre National de France
Jessica Bessac has been solo clarinet of the Orchestre National de France since 2006 and professor at Paris Conservatories (17th and 18th district) since 2014. She attended the prestigious Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, where she received her Master of Music degree with the highest distinction in the studio of Jacques Di Donato and Robert Bianciotto. This is where she decided to specialize in the sopranino Eb clarinet. Jessica Bessac has performed with numerous orchestras including Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, Orchestre de Bretagne, Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre National d’Ile de France where she performed solo Eb clarinet during one year. She has worked with some of the most distinguished conductors such as Kurt Masur, Seiji Osawa, Riccardo Muti, Sir Collin Davis, David Zinman, Daniele Gatti, in the most reknown halls: Musikverein in Vienna, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Scala of Milan, the Carnagie Hall in New York …
Jessica also enjoys performing chamber music with her colleagues from Orchestre National de France and she is very much involved in educational programs.
Since 2014, she is also solo clarinet of the Alma Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Lionel Bringuier and she performs on regular basis with the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris.
Jessica Bessac has been a SELMER Paris clarinet artist since 2016 and performs on Privilege set and Eb Recital clarinets.
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera
Principal Clarinet of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and participant in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, three-time Grammy Award-winner Todd Levy has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Mostly Mozart Festival, with the Israel Philharmonic, and at the White House. An active chamber musician, Mr. Levy has appeared with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion, Ying, Miro and Miami string quartets; James Levine, Christoph Eschenbach, and Mitsuko Uchida. He has also been a participant at the Marlboro Music Festival for four summers, and was a member of the Naumburg Award-winning Aspen Wind Quintet.
Also in demand as a Guest Principal Clarinetist with the top American orchestras, Mr. Levy has played Principal Clarinet with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and frequently for Seiji Ozawa and Riccardo Muti in Japan at the Tokyo Opera Nomori and the Mito Chamber Orchestra An avid supporter of new music, he has performed world premiere concerti or chamber works by composers such as John Harbison, Joan Tower, Peter Schickele, Paquito D’Rivera, Morton Subotnick, and Marc Neikrug and performs on the new release of Marc Neikrug’s Through Roses chamber work with violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, actor John Rubenstein, and the composer conducting.
Mr. Levy’s new CD for Avie, Rhapsodie, featuring 20th Century classics for clarinet, was released in November of 2016. He has recorded the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas and Schumann pieces for Avie, and three educational book/CDs of clarinet competition works entitled the Clarinet Collection for G. Schirmer. In addition, Mr. Levy has recorded and edited the new exclusive print editions/CDs of the Bernstein Clarinet Sonata and the Finzi Five Bagatelles for Boosey and Hawkes, and over 20 other orchestral and chamber music CDs on the Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, and Decca labels. An avid supporter and Performing Artist for Selmer-Paris and Vandoren, Mr. Levy plays on Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces, and ligatures, and Selmer Signature clarinets. He is also on the faculty of UW-Milwaukee, and at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Todd is a graduate of the Juilliard School where he studied with David Weber, and is an alumni of the New World Symphony.
For a more complete biography, visit toddlevy.org.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Williamson is the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Riccardo Muti. Mr. Williamson recently was the principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic (2013-14 season) under Alan Gilbert as well as principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (2003-11) under James Levine. In addition, he has been a frequent guest principal clarinetist with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra in Japan under Seiji Ozawa.
Mr. Williamson is currently on the faculty of DePaul University in Chicago, IL. He has served 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 in Sapporo, Japan. He has recorded for the Sony Classics, Telarc, CRI, BMG, Naxos and Decca labels and can be heard on numerous film soundtracks. Most recently, Mr. Williamson was a featured soloist with the CSO under the baton of John Williams, recording his Oscar-nominated score for Steven Spielberg’s film, “Lincoln.”
An avid soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Williamson has performed extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. He has collaborated with such artists as: Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane, Anne Marie McDermott, Emanuel Ax, Meliora Winds, Aspen, Dorian and Sylvan Wind Quintets; Brentano, American, Jasper and Dover String Quartets. Most recent concerto performances include the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with both the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan (2011) and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in Carnegie Hall under conductor Fabio Luisi (2012).
He 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. Mr. 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 Artists Guild 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 Wilmette, IL with his wife Jill, sons Ryan, Connor, Matthew and their dog Lila.
James Campbell studied with Abe Galper, Yona Ettlinger, Mitchel Lurie and Daniel Bonade. His former students have played in orchestras including Amsterdam’s Concertgebow Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, and several US military bands, and they hold teaching positions at universities and conservatories worldwide.
He has given master classes on five continents including the Royal Academy in London, the Tokyo College of Music, the Moscow Conservatory, the Rotterdam Conservatory, the University of Southern California, the Beijing Conservatory, and throughout Australia and Canada.
His concerts have taken him to over 35 countries, appearing as soloist with over 60 orchestras including the Montreal Symphony, the Russian Philharmonic, the London Symphony, and the Boston Pops.
He has performed with Glenn Gould, Aaron Copland, over 30 different string quartets, and jazz with pianist Gene DiNovi.
He has over 40 recordings encompassing most of the standard clarinet repertoire. His recording of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet was chosen by BBC Radio and the London Times as the best available. For more information, see www.gamisim.com.
Arizona State University
Robert Spring has been described as “one of this country’s most sensitive and talented clarinetists,” Arizona Republic, “dazzled his audience…flawless technique,” The Clarinet Magazine, and “a formidable soloist…played with great emotional life” Copenhagen, Denmark, Politiken. Spring’s recording of Grawemeier Award winning composer Joan Tower’s works for clarinet was described by The Clarinet Magazine as “truly outstanding….one would be hard pressed to find better performances of contemporary music….first rate music performed with the highest professional standards.” The Instrumentalist Magazine says of his recording, “Dragon’s Tongue”, a CD of virtuoso music for clarinet and wind band, “His musicality and technique make this recording a must for every CD collection.” Fanfare Magazine says of the CD, “Tarantelle”, music that the famous violinist Jascha Heifetz recorded on violin, being performed on clarinet, “This recording was meant to amaze and, man, it succeeds.”
The America Record Guide writes about his recent recording of the Copland Clarinet Concerto, “Spring is fabulous in the Copland. His phrasing is elegant swing tailored with great flow and a spread of tone colors and expressive subtleties. His low- and mid-range are especially warm, rich, and embracing and highly effective in the introduction and in the bridge to the jazzy finale. And boy what a finale! The pace is neatly judged to pick up at critical junctures so that, by the end, it feels like an improvised jam session.”
Spring attended the University of Michigan where he was awarded three degrees, including the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He was recently awarded the “Citation of Merit Award” from the School of Music Alumni Society. His teachers included John Mohler, David Shifrin and Paul Shaller. Spring has performed as a recitalist or soloist with symphony orchestras and wind bands in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America, and has been heard in the United States on National Public Radio’s, Performance Today. He frequently serves as clinician and adjudicator and teaches on the faculties of several summer music festivals. He has published numerous articles on multiple articulation and other contemporary clarinet techniques.
Spring was president of the International Clarinet Association from 1998-2000 and has performed for numerous International Clarinet Association conventions. He hosted the 1995 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest at Arizona State University where he is presently professor of music in clarinet. Spring is also a guest professor at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. He is a Henri Selmer Paris Artist and performances on the Privilège clarinet.
Michigan State University
Tasha Warren, assistant professor of chamber music at the Michigan State University College of Music, is an avid teacher and international performer. She has premiered numerous solo clarinet and chamber works working closely with composers and conductors including Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, Cliff Colnot, and Oliver Knussen. She has recorded with Innova, Alba, and SCI Records, the I.U. New Music Ensemble, Hal Leonard Productions, CBC Radio, and PBC Korea Television. Crystal Records released her CD, The Naked Clarinet, in December 2009, which garnered praise in reviews from International Record Review, Fanfare Magazine, The Clarinet Magazine and others.
Warren has taught on the music performance faculties of Louisiana State University and the University of Virginia. She played principal clarinet with the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2011, and Columbus Indiana Philharmonic from 2004-2009. She has implemented chamber music programs with MAYO Youth Orchestra, University of Virginia, and the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra. She holds MM and DMA performance degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music from the studios of James Campbell and Eli Eban.