Harold Wright was one of the finest musicians, let alone clarinetists, of the 20th Century. His professional career began shortly after his graduation from the Curtis Institute where he was the prized student of the esteemed principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ralph McLane. Positions in the Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony and the National Symphony followed. These jobs helped prepare him for assuming the principal clarinet chair in the Boston Symphony in 1970. His tenure there from 1970-1993 included an incredible array of marvelous orchestral, chamber music and recital recordings which helped to solidify his stature as one of America’s premiere clarinetists. He also instructed many students at the Tanglewood Music Center, New England Conservatory, and Boston University during this period. His reputation for beautiful sound, exquisite articulation, masterful phrasing, and elegant musicianship has continued to inspire legions of fans worldwide. Lucia McMahon, an Australian-based clarinetist and great devotee of Harold, is working tirelessly writing Harold’s biography, which will also include a lengthy section on Ralph McLane. In gathering all of the necessary information for this herculean project, she has received great support from the international clarinet community. One of the rewards of Lucia’s efforts has been the discovery of an August 22, 1969 recital that Harold presented at The National Clarinet Clinic at the University of Denver. (Thanks also go to the late Frank Stachow, former professor at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, who recorded the recital on reel-to-reel tape.) After many hours of digitalizing and cleaning up the original tapes which had been damaged, we are now the beneficiaries of Lucia’s efforts. The program is as follows:
- 1. Mozart: Concerto Rondo in Bb Major
- 2. Saint-Saëns: Sonata, Op. 167
- 3. Tomasi: Introduction Et Danse
- 4. Bozza: Pulcinello
- 5. Brahms: Sonata in F minor, Op.120 #1 (incomplete)
*Ms. McMahon’s Soundcloud is part of her “Wright/McLane Initiatives” which includes the Harold Wright & Ralph McLane Appreciation Page on Facebook. Harold is pictured above on the right with clarinetist John Fullam on the left.