Meet The Performers

Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Woodwinds - Clarinet

Stephen Williamson

Clarinet
Principal Clarinet

Appointed by Riccardo Muti, Stephen Williamson is principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the CSO, he served as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 2003 to 2011, and he has appeared with a wide variety of orchestras throughout his extensive career, including the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater and New York City Opera. He also was recently appointed principal clarinet with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra in Japan under Seiji Ozawa.

As a core member of the MET Chamber Ensemble, Williamson has extensively performed with James Levine as soloist and as chamber artist. In August 2011, he performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan under Fabio Luisi. In January 2012, Williamson joined Luisi and the MET Orchestra as soloist in a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at Carnegie Hall.

Williamson serves on the clarinet faculty at Columbia University and the Mannes College of Music in New York City, as well as at the Pacific Music Festival. He has recorded for the Sony Classics, Telarc, CRI, BMG, Naxos and Decca labels and can be heard on numerous film soundtracks.

Williamson received his bachelor’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and his master’s degree from the Juilliard School. As a Fulbright Scholar, he furthered his studies at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where he collaborated with various members of the Berlin Philharmonic. His past teachers include Peter Rieckhoff, Charles Neidich, Kenneth Grant and Michael Webster. Williamson was the grand prize winner of the 1994 Boosey & Hawkes/Buffet Crampon First Annual North American Clarinet Competition. Other past awards include the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition.

Williamson currently plays Selmer Paris Signature clarinets and uses Vandoren traditional reeds with a James Pyne JX/BC mouthpiece. He resides in Wilmette, IL with his wife Jill and their sons Ryan, Connor and Matthew.

September 2012

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