See David Shifrin perform with South Florida Symphony for Copland’s Clarinet Concerto during Masterworks V on March 27, 2021.
One of only three wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974, David Shifrin is in constant demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator.
Shifrin has appeared with the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit, Fort Worth, Hawaii and Phoenix symphonies among many others in the US, and internationally with orchestras in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. He has also received critical acclaim as a recitalist, appearing at such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, as well as at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. A much sought-after chamber musician, he has collaborated frequently with such distinguished ensembles and artists as the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets, Wynton Marsalis, and pianists Emanuel Ax and André Watts.
An artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989, David Shifrin served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004. He has toured extensively throughout the US with CMSLC and hosted and performed in several national television broadcasts on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center. He has been the Artistic Director of Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon since 1981 and is also the Artistic Director of the Phoenix Chamber Music Festival.
In addition, he has served as principal clarinetist with the Cleveland Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra (under Stokowski), the Honolulu and Dallas symphonies, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the New York Chamber Symphony.
Shifrin joined the faculty at the Yale School of Music in 1987 and was appointed Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Yale and Yale’s annual concert series at Carnegie Hall in September 2008. He has also served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Hawaii. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary professorship at China’s Central Conservatory in Beijing.
Shifrin’s recordings on Delos, DGG, Angel/EMI, Arabesque, BMG, SONY, and CRI have consistently garnered praise and awards. He has received three Grammy nominations and his recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, performed in its original version on a specially built elongated clarinet, was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review. His recordings of the Copland Clarinet Concerto and Leonard Bernstein’s Clarinet Sonata have been released on iTunes via Angel/EMI and Deutsche Grammophon. His most recent recordings are the Beethoven, Bruch and Brahms Clarinet Trios with cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han on the ArtistLed label; and a recording for Delos of works by Carl Nielsen, which includes the first recording of the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto arranged for chamber orchestra as well as Nielsen’s wind quintet and various short works either written or arranged for clarinet and piano. In the fall of 2018, Delos released a recording of three clarinet concertos which were written for Mr. Shifrin by Peter Schickele, Richard Danielpour and Aaron J. Kernis.
Shifrin has been instrumental in broadening the repertoire for clarinet and orchestra by commissioning and championing the works of 20th and 21st century American composers including John Adams, Joan Tower, Stephen Albert, Bruce Adolphe, Ezra Laderman, Lalo Schifrin, David Schiff, John Corigliano, Bright Sheng and Ellen Zwilich.
In addition to the Avery Fisher Prize, Shifrin is the recipient of a Solo Recitalists’ Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2016 Concert Artist Guild Virtuoso Award. He was given an Honorary Membership by the International Clarinet Society in 2014 in recognition of lifetime achievement and at the outset of his career, he won the top prize at both the Munich and the Geneva International Competitions. In January 2018 he received the 2018 Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award at the Chamber Music America Conference, an award which recognizes an individual or entity who has provided historic service to the small ensemble music field.
Shifrin performs on a MoBA cocobolo wood clarinet made by Morrie Backun in Vancouver, Canada and uses Légère Reeds exclusively.
Photos © Yuki Tei