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WQXR Features

Richard Stoltzman's Clarinet Playing Hits New Notes

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Richard Stoltzman is arguably the world's best-known clarinetist, who has both helped to broaden the repertory for classical clarinet and made numerous forays into jazz, Latin and crossover styles.

Over a long career, he has accomplished a number of firsts for his instrument, becoming the first wind player to receive the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, and the first clarinetist to give solo recitals in Carnegie Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl.

He has appeared with orchestras and chamber groups around the world, performed with pop artists like Mel Torme and Judy Collins, and won two Grammy Awards. This fall, he's appearing the group the Klezmatics -- his first foray into klezmer music -- and he's returning to a piece that helped launch his career in the early '70s: Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.

Stoltzman sat down with Jeff Spurgeon to talk about his early days with the freewheeling chamber group TASHI, his idols including Benny Goodman, and some of his favorite works for the instrument.