100 Famous Female Clarinetists Throughout History

Any time is a great time to celebrate all the amazing women in the music industry. However, it seems extra appropriate to acknowledge some of them during the year of the woman, commemorating 100 years of women’s voting rights in the United States.

As always, this list is not intended to be comprehensive. I’m always interested in hearing your suggestions for those you’d add to your own list, so please leave comments below with your ideas! If you’re interested, I also wrote a more detailed description of some famous female clarinetists throughout history.

  • Mariam Adam
  • Michelle Anderson
  • Laura Ardan
  • Lori Ardovino
  • Diane Barger
  • Ivy Benson
  • Jessica Bessac
  • Deborah Bish
  • Romy Bischoff
  • Barbara Borowicz
  • Shirley Brill
  • Kelly Burke
  • Edwige Caquet
  • Ixi Chen
  • Anat Cohen
  • Paula Corley
  • Julie DeRoche
  • Georgina Dobrée
  • Margaret Donaghue
  • Daphne Down
  • Julianne Kirk Doyle
  • Naomi Drucker
  • Mary Alice Druhan
  • Viola Millicent Dunn
  • Joy Farrall
  • Laura Flax
  • Lori Freedman
  • Denise Gainey
  • Stefanie Gardner
  • Michele Gingras
  • Sabine Grofmeier
  • Marci Gurnow
  • Doris Hardine
  • Caroline Hartig
  • Anna Hashimoto
  • Diana Haskell
  • Julia Heinen
  • Janet Hilton
  • Augusta Holmes
  • Tzuying Huang
  • Sylvie Hue
  • Maureen Hurd
  • Michele Jacot
  • Emma Johnson
  • Kathleen Jones
  • Pauline Juler
  • Sharon Kam
  • Cecilia Kang
  • Moran Katz
  • Doreen Ketchens
  • Thea King
  • Julianne Kirk-Doyle
  • Margaret Knitel
  • Caroline Krähmer (née Schleicher)
  • Ginger Kroft
  • Alison Lambert
  • Esther Lamneck
  • Seunghee Lee (aka Sunny Kang)
  • Marina López
  • Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr
  • Kimberly Luevano
  • Victoria Luperi
  • Theresa Martin
  • Cordula Metzger(née Schleicher)
  • Sabine Meyer
  • Lynn Musco
  • Kazuko Ninomiya
  • Haruyo Nishizawa
  • Merve Nuvasil
  • Valentina Palma
  • Ludmilla Peterková
  • Jessica Phillips
  • Stéphanie Pochet
  • Lillian Poenisch
  • Rebecca Rischin
  • Carol Robinson
  • Marie Ross
  • Elodie Roudet
  • Jeannette Scheerer
  • Ecesu Sertesen
  • Severine Sierens
  • Rose Sperrazza
  • Pamela Spira
  • Jana Starling
  • Suzanne Stephens
  • Frances Thomas
  • Margaret Thornhill
  • Yoshie Toyonaga
  • Alison Turriff
  • Eileen Betsy Tranmer
  • Eva Wasserman-Margolis
  • Sarah Watts
  • Annelien Van Wauwe
  • Pamela Weston
  • Cathy Wood
  • Chiao-hui Yang
  • Rachel Yoder
  • Stephanie Zelnick
  • Amy Zoloto
  • Michele Zukovsky

For anyone wishing to read a more comprehensive history of female clarinetists, you should check out First-Wave Women Clarinetists Retrospective: A Guide to Women Clarinetists Born Before 1930 by Manchusa Loungsangroong.

Thank you to all female clarinetists from around the world who are making history every day!




  • Walt Nielsen

    I second Dr. Anne Watson and further nominate Dr. Leslie Moreau, who is Associate Professor of Music at Boise State University where she teaches clarinet and music theory. She is an active performer and clinician around the country.

    • jennyclarinet

      Both wonderful musicians – thank you for these recommendations! I’ll be sure to include them in part two of this post!

  • Jeff Quamo

    This recommendation may be a bit “out of the box” but I believe that Lisa Canning has been a rather instrumental figure in the clarinet community for over 30 years. I first met her at the ICA in Chicago in 1994 and she is still providing excellent clarinet services for many people throughout the clarinet community.

  • John Steinmetz

    Emily Bernstein, principal clarinet of L.A. Opera, Pasadena Symphony, and on many movies, including the virtuosic solos in John Williams’ score for Spielberg’s “The Terminal”

  • Anonymous

    Anne Watson, Professor in Full, Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, OK); 2nd and E-flat clarinet, Signature Symphony (Tulsa, OK); principle clarinet, Arizona Opera (2002-2010) (Phoenix, AZ)

  • Vincent Ellin

    There is Connie Gitlin (Winnipeg Symphony Principal and Santa Fe Opera Principal Clarinet) and also Christie Lindquist who was Principal Clarinet in the Utah Symphony….both wonderful players.

  • Maxine Ramey

    Great to see so many fine clarinetists on your list. My colleagues, friends and mentors! Might I add Christie Lundquist in your next go around? 21 years as principal clarinet of Utah Symphony before her untimely death.

    “She was a superb artist,” said Utah Symphony conductor Joseph Silverstein. “It will be difficult for the orchestra to find a person who will have a similar artistic impact.” In her long tenure here, she established a reputation as a quality soloist, recitalist and teacher. Composers Ingolf Dahl and Halsey Stevens composed works specifically for Lundquist.
    “The position of solo instrumentalist with a major symphony is a career position,” continued Silverstein. “This has had a great personal impact on the whole orchestra.”

  • Robert G. Monie

    Another active performer today is Canadian-born Romie de Guise-Langlois, who frequently appears in Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (New York City) events.

  • Robert G. Monie

    One more to include is Naoko Kotaniguchi, principal cl. with the Kyoto Symphony in Japan. She made a CD of all 48 of the Uhl Etudes for clarinet (2014, ALM Records, ALCD-3702, 3103).

  • Richard Shaw

    100 is simply not enough to encompass so much talent. For her wide-ranging performing experience and inspiring teaching Angela Malsbury has to be included.

    • jennymaclay

      You’re right – 100 is not nearly enough to encompass even a small percentage of the incredible female clarinetists past, present, and future! Looks like I’ll have to add a part two!

  • Linnea Nereim

    I would be happy to be added to your list.

    Linnea Nereim
    Bass Clarinetist
    The Cleveland Orchestra 1985 – 2016

    • jennymaclay

      I’d be happy to add you when I do a part two! 100 is not nearly enough to highlight all the female talent from around the world!