List of Famous Clarinetists

List of famous clarinetists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top clarinetists in the world? This includes the most prominent clarinetists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable clarinetists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic clarinetists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned clarinetists.

Examples of people on this list: Woody Allen, Lester Young and more.

From reputable, prominent, and well known clarinetists to the lesser known clarinetists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the clarinetist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous clarinetists ever?" and "What are the names of famous clarinetists?" then you're in the right place. {#nodes}
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  • Heywood "Woody" Allen (born December 1, 1935) is an American director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades. He began his career as a comedy writer in the 1950s, writing jokes and scripts for television and publishing several books of short humor pieces. In the early 1960s, he performed as a stand-up comedian, emphasizing monologues rather than traditional jokes, where he developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he maintains is quite different from his real-life personality. In 2004 Comedy Central ranked Allen fourth on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, while a UK survey ranked Allen the third-greatest comedian.By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into dramatic material influenced by European art cinema during the 1970s, and alternating between comedies and dramas to the present. He is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late 1970s. Allen often stars in his films, typically in the persona he developed as a standup. Some of the best-known of his over 50 films are Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Midnight in Paris (2011). In 2007 he said Stardust Memories (1980), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), and Match Point (2005) were his best films. Critic Roger Ebert described Allen as "a treasure of the cinema".Allen has received many accolades and honors throughout his career. He has won four Academy Awards: three for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Director. He also garnered nine British Academy Film Awards. His screenplay for Annie Hall was named the funniest screenplay by the Writers Guild of America in its list of the "101 Funniest Screenplays". In 2011 PBS televised the film biography Woody Allen: A Documentary on its series American Masters.
  • Benjamin David Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing".In the mid-1930s, Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in the United States. His concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on January 16, 1938 is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz's 'coming out' party to the world of 'respectable' music."Goodman's bands started the careers of many jazz musicians. During an era of racial segregation, he led one of the first integrated jazz groups. He performed nearly to the end of his life while exploring an interest in classical music.
  • Artie Shaw (born Arthur Jacob Arshawsky; May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004) was an American clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and actor. Also an author, Shaw wrote both fiction and non-fiction. Widely regarded as "one of jazz's finest clarinetists", Shaw led one of the United States' most popular big bands in the late 1930s through the early 1940s. Though he had numerous hit records, he was perhaps best known for his 1938 recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine". Before the release of "Beguine", Shaw and his fledgling band had languished in relative obscurity for over two years and, after its release, he became a major pop artist within short order. The record eventually became one of the era's defining recordings. Musically restless, Shaw was also an early proponent of what became known much later as Third Stream music, which blended elements of classical and jazz forms and traditions. His music influenced other musicians, such as John Barry in England, with the vamp of the James Bond Theme, possibly influenced by 1938's "Nightmare". Shaw also recorded with small jazz groups drawn from within the ranks of the various big bands he led. He served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1944, (during which time he led a morale-building band that toured the South Pacific amidst the chaos of World War II) and, following his discharge in 1944, he returned to lead a band through 1945. Following the breakup of that band, he began to focus on other interests and gradually withdrew from the world of being a professional musician and major celebrity, although he remained a force in popular music and jazz before retiring from music completely in 1954.
  • Eric Allan Dolphy, Jr. (June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, bass clarinetist and flautist. On a few occasions, he also played the clarinet and piccolo. Dolphy was one of several multi-instrumentalists to gain prominence around the time that he was active. His use of the bass clarinet helped to establish the instrument within jazz. Dolphy extended the vocabulary and boundaries of the alto saxophone, and was among the earliest significant jazz flute soloists. His improvisational style was characterized by the use of wide intervals, in addition to using an array of extended techniques to emulate the sounds of human voices and animals. Although Dolphy's work is sometimes classified as free jazz, his compositions and solos were often rooted in conventional (if highly abstracted) tonal bebop harmony and melodic lines that suggest the influences of modern classical composers such as Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky.
  • Evan Christopher is an American clarinetist and composer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recognized mainly for a personal brand of "contemporary early-jazz,” he strives to extend the legacy of the unique clarinet style anchored in the musical vocabulary created by early New Orleans clarinetists such as Lorenzo Tio Jr., Sidney Bechet, Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, and Johnny Dodds.
  • James Dorsey (February 29, 1904 – June 12, 1957) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and big band leader. He was known as "JD". He recorded and composed the jazz and pop standards "I'm Glad There Is You (In This World of Ordinary People)" and "It's The Dreamer In Me". His other major recordings were "Tailspin", "John Silver", "So Many Times", "Amapola", "Brazil (Aquarela do Brasil)", "Pennies from Heaven" with Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and Frances Langford, "Grand Central Getaway", and "So Rare". He played clarinet on the seminal jazz standards "Singin' the Blues" in 1927 and the original 1930 recording of "Georgia on My Mind", both inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.