In this video interview, clarinet mouthpiece maker Brad Behn discusses his innovative mouthpiece designs along with his new barrels and bells. I first met Brad a little over 10 years ago when a former teacher of mine, Ron Reuben of the Philadelphia Orchestra, introduced me to his work. Brad’s desire to create a mouthpiece using the best technology available (Computer Numeric Control) along with top-of-the-line proprietary rod rubber material that so many of the great mouthpieces of past generations contained has led him down his current path. While finding vintage mouthpieces in excellent condition by clarinet mouthpiece makers such as Chedeville, Lelandais, Bettoney, Leroy, Kaspar, Robert, etc., would be akin to winning the lottery, Behn mouthpieces come the closest in my opinion to being able to replicate the sound and response characteristics of those vintage mouthpieces. Brad has spent a great deal of money and time searching for the correct type of rod rubber and the machinery in order to replicate his design wishes. He continually seeks out the top players to get their feedback that will allow him to uncover more of the qualities that performers desire. This type of devotion to the craft harkens back to a tradiition of great players producing clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces: Vandoren, Selmer, Lefevre, Opperman, Brillhart, Stabile, Bonade, Gigliotti, Kanter, Otto Link, Lurie, Gennusa, Runyon, Rossi, Dukoff, etc. I have played Behn mouthpieces exclusively over the past decade on my Bb/A/Eb clarinets in both orchestral, chamber, commercial, and recording sessions and use many of his accessories on those instruments. In addition, we have become good friends over the years. The combination of artist/designer/manufacturer that Brad represents, one who tests each mouthpiece before making it available and is always available to work with each client on further modifications, is unbeatable. I urge everyone to investigate his website: www.clarinetmouthpiece.com, and consider trying his equipment.
About the Artist: Brad Behn has devoted his life to the clarinet as a performer and over the past 25 years, as a designer of clarinet mouthpieces and accessories. His mouthpiece designs are reflective of Brad’s desire to create greater resonance while at the same time allowing the individual the necessary freedom of expression. Much of Brad’s concept of sound evolved from his years of study with the great clarinetist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Robert Marcellus, along with his love of the Boston Symphony’s Harold Wright. (Brad grew up in New England.) He is currently the principal clarinet in the Oklahoma City Symphony and has also served as principal clarinet with the Tulsa Philharmonic and Fort Collins Symphony. Additional symphonic work includes appearances with the Savannah, Utah, Baltimore, Alabama, and Charleston Symphonies, among others. He has taught at Oklahoma City University and the University of Northern Colorado and been a guest clinician at institutions of higher education around the world. Brad owns and operates BEHN, LLC along with his wife, So Rhee, from their home in Edmond, Oklahoma.