William Hudgins: Principal Clarinet

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I have always been a fan of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, attending their performances in New York, Boston and at Tanglewood as well as owning many of their recordings. As a woodwind player, I was particularly attracted to the sophisticated elegance of the woodwind sections in that orchestra throughout my adult life and in particular, clarinetist Harold Wright. When Harold passed away in 1993, it was hard to imagine who would be able to fill those shoes. It was to my delight that William Hudgins has emerged as his worthy successor. As you will hear in this interview, he exudes a sense of humility and respect for those players that came before him and a deep desire to keep alive the French concept of resonance in the tone. His continuing search for color in the sound along with greater expressivity is expressed throughout our interview and serves as a model of how an artist continues to grow. While reflecting aspects of great American clarinetists such as Ralph McClane, Harold Wright and Robert Marcellus, he has found his own unique voice within this tradition. It was a great pleasure to spend the day with Bill and his wife Catherine, who is also a fine clarinetist. I hope you’ll find this interview enlightening and inspiring.

About the Artist: William Hudgins has been a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1992 and the principal clarinet since 1994, succeeding his teacher, the legendary Harold Wright. Prior to joining the BSO, he served as principal clarinet of the Orquesta Sinfonica Municipal in Caracas, Venezuela, the Atlanta Opera, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and participated in the Spoleto Festival Orchestras in the U.S. and Italy. In addition to Harold Wright, he has also studied with Achille Rossi, Richard Waller, Jules Serpentini, and Pasquale Cardillo. A longtime member of the Boston Chamber Players, he can be heard on their recordings of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, the Hindemith Quartet for clarinet, violin, cello& piano; 20th Century French Chamber Music; and the Brahms & Dvorak Serenades. As a frequent soloist with the BSO, Mr. Hudgins has been heard performing clarinet concerti by Mozart and Copland, Bruch’s Double Concerto & Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds.


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