Stolzman, Richard

Stolzman, Richard

(1942–  ) clarinetist; born in Omaha, Nebr. Raised in San Francisco from age four, he had a father who played alto saxophone on weekends with a dance band; Richard started clarinet lessons in school at age eight. Turned down by Eastman School of Music and Juilliard conservatory, he went to Ohio State and played in the football band and with Dixieland jazz groups. Going to Yale on a scholarship to take a master's degree in music (1967), he was converted to the classical repertoire, although he retained his love and feel for jazz. In 1970 he went to teach at the California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, Calif.), but at the summer Marlboro Festivals (Vt.) he joined with Peter Serkin and two string players to form the Tashi Quartet and soon came to be known for his virtuoso playing. In 1981 he won a Grammy for the best chamber music performance and that same year he presented a solo clarinet recital at Carnegie Hall, the first in its history. Although some fellow clarinetists questioned his use of vibrato and dynamic changes (which gave a more emotional tone than is traditional in classical music), and certain other liberties he took in his interpretations, he is acknowledged to be a master of the instrument; without ever having held a chair in any major orchestra, he became a full-time solo clarinetist, performing a constant round of recitals and with symphonic orchestras and chamber music groups.