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List of Famous Clarinetists

Updated June 14, 2019 12.3k views158 items
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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}
  • 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,...  more

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  • 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...  more

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  • 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...  more
  • 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...  more

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  • 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...  more
  • 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...  more
  • Woodrow Charles Herman (May 16, 1913 – October 29, 1987) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd", Herman came to...  more
  • Chris Speed (born Seattle, Washington, 1967) is an American saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer....  more
  • Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. He was one of the first important soloists in jazz, beating trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the...  more
  • Bennett Lester Carter (August 8, 1907 – July 12, 2003) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. With Johnny Hodges, he was a pioneer on the alto...  more
  • Paulo Moura was a Brazilian clarinetist and saxophonist. Born in São José do Rio Preto, where his father was the maestro of a marching band and encouraged his son to train as a tailor, Paulo instead...  more
  • Charles Neidich is an American classical clarinetist, composer, and conductor....  more
  • Gerald Joseph Mulligan (April 6, 1927 – January 20, 1996) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and arranger. Though Mulligan is primarily known as one of the leading jazz baritone...  more
  • Joseph Salvatore Lovano (born December 29, 1952) is an American jazz saxophonist, alto clarinetist, flautist, and drummer. He has earned a Grammy Award and several mentions on Down Beat magazine's...  more
  • Dr. Michael White (born 29 November 1954 in New Orleans) is a jazz clarinetist, bandleader, composer, jazz historian and musical educator. Scott Yanow, a jazz critic, said in a review that White...  more
  • Lester Willis Young (August 27, 1909 – March 15, 1959), nicknamed "Pres" or "Prez", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and occasional clarinetist. Coming to prominence while a member of Count...  more
  • Marty Ehrlich (born May 31, 1955) is a multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinets, flutes) and is considered one of the leading figures in avant-garde jazz....  more
  • Sir Colin Rex Davis (25 September 1927 – 14 April 2013) was an English conductor, known for his association with the London Symphony Orchestra, having first conducted it in 1959. His repertoire was...  more
  • Alvin Batiste (November 7, 1932 – May 6, 2007) was an Avant-garde jazz clarinetist born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He taught at his own jazz institute at Southern University in Baton Rouge.His...  more
  • Philip Wells Woods (November 2, 1931 – September 29, 2015) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, and composer....  more

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  • Albany Leon "Barney" Bigard (March 3, 1906 – June 27, 1980) was an American jazz clarinetist known for his 15-year tenure with Duke Ellington. He also played tenor saxophone....  more
  • Nathaniel Shilkret (December 25, 1889 – February 18, 1982) was an American composer, conductor, clarinetist, pianist, business executive, and music director....  more
  • James Peter Giuffre (, Italian pronunciation: [dʒufˈfrɛ]; April 26, 1921 – April 24, 2008) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, and arranger. He is notable for his development of...  more
  • Derek Bermel (born 1967, in New York City) is an American composer, clarinetist and conductor whose music blends various facets of world music, funk and jazz with largely classical performing forces...  more
  • Assif Tsahar (born Israel, June 11, 1969) is an Israeli tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist. He has lived in New York City since 1990. He has performed with Cecil Taylor, Butch Morris, William...  more