Only a select few artists have the ability to convey their message to the back row, to galvanize an audience with a visceral power that connects on a universal level. David Krakauer is such an artist.
Widely considered one of the greatest clarinetists on the planet, he has been praised internationally as a key innovator in modern klezmer as well as a major voice in classical music. In 2015 he received both a Grammy nomination in the Chamber music/small ensemble category as soloist with the conductorless orchestra A Far Cry, and a Juno nomination for the CD Akoka with cellist Matt Haimovitz.
For the past decade Krakauer has emerged as a symphonic soloist of "astounding virtuosity and charisma" (Detroit Free Press) who brings his singular sound and powerful approach to the concert stage. He has appeared with the world’s finest orchestras including the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Baltimore Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, the Weimar Staatskapelle, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Phoenix Symphony, the Dresdner Philharmonie, and the Seattle Symphony.
Highlights of Krakauer’s lauded career include performances with the Kronos, Emerson, Tokyo, Orion and Miro String Quartets; an eight-year tenure with the Naumburg Award-winning Aspen Wind Quintet; international tours and recordings with Ancestral Groove and Abraham Inc (which he co-leads with Socalled and Fred Wesley) and performing in the International Emmy Award-winning BBC documentary Holocaust, A Music Memorial from Auschwitz. Even from his very earliest days as a performer, the wide range of his experiences was remarkable: from his New York recital debut as a Concert Artists Guild award winner, numerous Music from Marlboro tours, contemporary music concerts with many of New York’s top ensembles, including a seven-year tenure with the Grammy-award winning band the Klezmatics, and nationwide residencies as an Affiliate Artist; all the way to crazy outings with experimentalist composer/band-leader Anthony Coleman at the legendary punk club CBGBs. His latest project, Breath and Hammer with renowned South African pianist Kathleen Tagg, yet again re-contextualizes Krakauer’s sound in a completely different way by adding loops, samples and extended techniques to the acoustic duo of clarinet and piano.
Krakauer’s discography contains some of the most important clarinet recordings of recent decades. Among them are The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (Osvaldo Golijov and the Kronos Quartet/Nonesuch) received the Diapason D'Or in France, The Twelve Tribes (Label Bleu) which was designated album of the year in the jazz category for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and Paul Moravec’s Pulitzer Prize winning composition Tempest Fantasy (Naxos). He has also recorded with violinist Itzhak Perlman/the Klezmatics (Angel) and Dawn Upshaw/Osvaldo Golijov (Deutsche Gramophon). His unique voice can be heard in Danny Elfman's score for the Ang Lee film Taking Woodstock and throughout Sally Potter's The Tango Lesson. Recent recordings include his 2015 album Checkpoint with his band Ancestral Groove (Label Bleu), Paul Moravec’s Clarinet Concerto with The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP Sound) and The Big Picture on his own label, Table Pounding Records in 2014. Recent releases in '18-'19 include concerti written for Krakauer by composers Wlad Marhulets and Mathew Rosenblum.
Writer Mark Stryker hinted at the visceral nature of Krakauer’s performance in his Detroit Free Press review: “Krakauer played with astounding virtuosity and charisma. A furiously improvised cadenza leapt between low and high registers in a way that suggested John Coltrane, building to an excited peak. After the concerto he also offered an encore, improvising by himself with an air of ritual, before playing a swift klezmer dance with the orchestra.”
As an esteemed educator, David Krakauer gives clinics and masterclasses all over the world and is on the clarinet and chamber music faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music (New School), The Bard Conservatory and NYU.
Photo credits: GMD - M. Starowieyska
Recognized for their great versatility and their stability, the 'Privilège' clarinets stand out through their aesthetics, ergonomics and tuning.