John Bruce Yeh joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1977 as bass clarinet by Georg Solti at the age of 19, the first Asian musician ever appointed to the CSO. Two years later, he was named assistant principal and E-flat clarinet. The longest-serving clarinetist in CSO history, he also served as acting principal clarinet from 2008 to 2011. He has performed as guest principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic in Korea, and the Guangzhou Symphony in China. He was a prizewinner at both the 1982 Munich International Music Competition and the 1985 Naumburg Clarinet Competition in New York. Yeh has performed as a soloist with the CSO several times, including in Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto with Neeme Järvi and in the U.S. premiere of Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto with Pierre Boulez. He continues to solo with orchestras around the globe.
An enthusiastic champion of new music, Yeh is the dedicatee of new works for clarinet by numerous composers, ranging from Ralph Shapey to John Williams. He appears at festivals and on chamber music series worldwide, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Taipei Music Academy Festival and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Yeh has performed with the Guarneri, Ying, Colorado, Calder and Pacifica string quartets, among others. His more than a dozen solo and chamber music recordings have earned worldwide critical acclaim, including the 2007 release for Naxos entitled Synergy of single and double concertos with clarinet featuring Yeh, his wife Teresa Reilly, and his daughter Molly Yeh.
John Bruce Yeh is director and cofounder of Chicago Pro Musica, which received the 1985 Grammy Award for Best New Classical Artist. With clarinetist Teresa Reilly, erhu virtuoso Wang Guowei and pipa virtuoso Yang Wei, Yeh formed Birds and Phoenix, an innovative quartet dedicated to musical exploration by bridging Eastern and Western musical cultures.
Yeh is on the artist-faculties of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College for the Performing Arts and Midwest Young Artists in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He is the proud father of Jenna Yeh, culinary artist and wine specialist in Chicago; Molly Yeh, percussionist and Food Network TV personality in Minnesota; and multitalented teenager Mia Reilly-Yeh.