Stephen Williamson is the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, appointed in 2011 by Maestro Riccardo Muti. Mr. Williamson was formerly the principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has appeared with a wide variety of orchestras throughout his extensive career, including numerous appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, New York City Opera, Solisti NY Chamber Orchestra, Stamford Symphony, and the EOS Orchestra.
Mr. Williamson has recorded for Sony Classics, Telarc, CRI, BMG, and Decca labels and can be heard on soprano Renee Fleming's CD, By Request, with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Mr. Williamson was the Grand Prize Winner of the 1994 Boosey & Hawkes/ Buffet Crampon First Annual North American Clarinet Competition.
As a featured artist for the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and the European Mozart Foundation, he has been on radio and television broadcasts with such artists as Maurice Bourgue, Alexander Longuich, Radovan Vlatkovic, and principal members of the Orchestre National de Paris and de L'Ensemble Intercontemporain. As a core member of the Met Chamber Ensemble, Mr. Williamson has performed extensively with Maestro James Levine both as soloist and as chamber artist.
Mr. Williamson is currently a faculty member of DePaul University in Chicago. He has served on the faculty at Columbia University and the Mannes College of Music in New York City, as well as at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He received his Bachelor's Degree and Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a Master's Degree from The Juilliard School. As a Fullbright Scholar, he furthered his studies at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, Germany where he collaborated with various members of the Berlin Philharmonic. His past teachers include Peter Rieckhoff, Charles Neidich, Kenneth Grant, and Michael Webster.
Mr. Williamson currently plays on Henri SELMER Paris Signature Bb and A clarinets.
Photo credits: Todd Rosenberg - Laëtitia Lécuyer / Henri SELMER Paris
Centered and powerful, the 'Signature' clarinet offers a rich palette of colors.