Jon Manasse: The Clarinet Is My Voice

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I first heard of Jon Manasse when I was studying flute and woodwind doubling with Ralph (Skippy) Galluchio in the mid-1970s. Skippy had been a well-respected lead alto saxophonist with both the Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras as well as Glenn Miller’s Band in the 1950s. He returned to live and work on Long Island, NY where he grew up and taught elementary and middle school band there for many years. He mentioned to me at one of my lessons that he had a young saxophone student who was really gifted and was also studying clarinet with David Weber. I remember him saying, “You’ll hear about him one day.” Well, a few years later Skippy’s prophecy came true. Clarinetists throughout the world have been mesmerized by Jon’s beautiful sound and bel canto approach to music. During his career, he has worked in every possible musical scenario including orchestral playing, chamber music ensembles, Broadway shows, concerto soloist, recording artist, and successful teacher. His solo repertoire and discography are quite extensive, and he continues to practice, work, and play as hard as ever. During our interview, Jon gives thoughtful responses to questions concerning his musical beginnings and studies with Dave Weber, concepts for practicing and studying, his equipment choices, and general open-mindedness to many styles of music. I believe that there is much to be learned from our conversation. Please investigate for further information regarding this artist.

About the Artist: Jon Manasse has been a mainstay on the New York music scene for the past 40 years while developing an international reputation as one of the most eloquent clarinetists performing today. He has been an in-demand principal clarinet and serves in that capacity with the Mostly Mozart Orchestra in NYC, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, and the American Ballet Theater Orchestra. He has also played principal with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Pops Orchestra, the St. Louis and Seattle Symphonies, among many others. A frequent guest at chamber music festivals in Aspen, Caramoor, Newport, Sarasota, Colorado Springs, St. Bart’s, Seattle, Tuscon, etc., Jon also serves as co-artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. As a soloist, Jon has premiered and recorded concertos by Lowell Lieberman, James Cohn, Steven Gerber as well as Paquito D-Rivera’s “Cape Cod Files” for clarinet and piano. With 9 solo albums in addition to numerous additional recordings as an associate performer, Jon Manasse has established a reputation as an elegant statesman of the clarinet with a prodigious technique. He is also active as a teacher of clarinet and chamber music at The Juilliard School, The Lynn Conservatory, and The Mannes School of Music.


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