50 Famous American Clarinetists

Happy Independence Day, America! To help celebrate and put you in a patriotic state of mind, here are 50 famous American clarinetists, listed alphabetically by last name.

(Disclaimer: This list is not intended to be comprehensive – there are so many awesome American clarinetists past, present, and future! I tried to use clarinetists who were born in America, although there are countless talented players who moved here from other countries to perform. Make sure you share any American clarinetists you’d add to your own list in the comments!)

  • Ben Armato
  • Sidney Bechet
  • Kalman Bloch
  • Lawrie Bloom
  • Clark Brody
  • Carmine Campione
  • Frank Cohen
  • Jonathan Cohler
  • Larry Combs
  • Eddie Daniels
  • Buddy DeFranco
  • Eric Dolphy
  • Naomi Drucker
  • Stanley Drucker
  • David Etheridge
  • Clark Fobes
  • Pete Fountain
  • Al Gallodoro
  • Ignatius Gennusa
  • Anthony Gigliotti
  • David Glazer
  • Benny Goodman
  • Gary Gray
  • Larry Guy
  • Peter Hadcock
  • Burt Hara
  • Caroline Hartig
  • Stanley Hasty
  • Richie Hawley
  • Doreen Ketchens
  • Howard Klug
  • Frank Kowalsky
  • David Krakauer
  • Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr
  • Mitchell Lurie
  • Jon Manasse
  • Robert Marcellus
  • Robert McGinnis
  • Ralph McLane
  • Donald Montanaro
  • Charles Neidich
  • Mark Nuccio
  • Kalmen Opperman
  • Bernard Portnoy
  • Artie Shaw
  • David Shifrin
  • Robert Spring
  • Richard Stoltzman
  • Himie Voxman
  • Harold Wright

Happy 4th of July to the land of the free and the home of…some great clarinetists!



    Thanks for your list but my father seems to miss all these IMPORTANT PEOPLE. an immigrant
    from Abruzzi Italy, if you study carefully your archives you will discover that he advertised for
    SELMA CLARINETS some of his credits are NBC SYMPHONY under Arturo Toscanini, Indianapolis
    Symphony under Fabien Savitsky, Radio City Music Hall, American Ballet Theatre Joe Levin
    conductor People’s Symphony of Boston, Fabien Savitsky Goldman Bands and many others.

  • Sara McGinnis Thomson

    Thanks for recognizing my late father, Robert McGinnis. So many of the names are familiar to me from hearing them around the house growing up. I still have his clarinets.

  • Robert Monie

    To bring the list up to date, Ricardo Morales (Philadelphia Orchestra) and Anthony McGill (New York Philharmonic).

    • jennymaclay

      He’s an incredible musician! This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, and it was hard to choose just 50, so it looks like I’ll have to make a Part II!

  • Dennis

    I’m glad Eddie Daniels is on the list, but I am missing Evan Christopher! A truly great musician and very technical clarinettist.

    • jennymaclay

      He’s an incredible musician! It was hard to choose just 50 clarinetists for this list – it looks like I’ll have to create a Part II!

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