Clarinetopia 2016 Faculty

Steve Cohen | Charles Neidich | Ayako OshimaElsa Ludewig Verdehr | Michael Webster | Leone Buyse | Guy Yehuda | Tasha Warren-Yehuda Ramon Wodkowski

Steve Cohen

Steve-CohenActive as both soloist and chamber performer throughout the U.S. and around the world, Steve Cohen was principal clarinet and frequent soloist with the New Orleans Symphony, (later known as the Louisiana Philharmonic) between 1975 and 2004. He has also been featured as concerto soloist at the Brevard Music Center, where he has played and continues to play principal clarinet each summer since 1979.   There he performed the Copland Clarinet Concerto with Keith Lockhart in the summer of 2010 and in 2016 he will be soloist in John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons.

Cohen has toured in the U.S. as principal clarinet with the Texas Opera Theater and throughout Europe as principal clarinet with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He returned to Korea to be a guest artist and master class clinician at the Seoul Philharmonic’s Clarinet Festival in 1998.  He maintains an active yearly solo, chamber music, and master class schedule and has performed solo recitals and master classes throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Korea, China, Taiwan, Bangkok and Japan. He performed at the ICA conventions in several cities, including in Porto, Portugal in August of 2009 and was guest artist and teacher at the International Music Course in Guimaraes, Portugal, returning in September of 2011.

Having moved to Chicago in 2005 to become clarinet professor and coordinator of winds, brass and percussion at Northwestern University, he plays principal clarinet with the Music of the Baroque orchestra and has played clarinet and E-flat clarinet on numerous occasions with the Chicago Symphony.  He has also played with the Chicago Lyric Opera orchestra and as a chamber musician throughout the Chicago area and beyond.

Many of his collaborations have been with the Lincoln String Quartet.  Additionally he has performed with the Dempster St. Pro Musica and the Chicago Chamber Musicians. In the fall of 2014 he gave master classes and recitals in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan and in February 2015 he was guest soloist with the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina.

He has guest taught at the Oberlin Conservatory, University of Southern California, and Indiana University. Previously on the faculty of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory and Louisiana State University, he is an artist/clinician for Buffet clarinets and a Legère reed artist.   For 2015-16 he has been Visiting Professor of Clarinet at the University of Texas at Austin in addition to his Northwestern duties and has performed there with the Miro Quartet.  He hosted the 2001 International Clarinet Association Convention in New Orleans and has written many articles for The Clarinet magazine. Born to a Juilliard-trained clarinetist in New York City, Steve Cohen has studied with Loren Kitt, Larry McDonald, Karl Leister and Robert Marcellus.

Ramon Wodkowski

American clarinetist Ramon Wodkowski has gained international fame as a mouthpiece expert.  He moved to London in 2004 to study at the Royal College of Music. Since graduating, he has established a busy playing career, and has worked with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Ballet, City of London Sinfonia and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ramon studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, received his Bachelors Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Masters Degree from the Yale University School of Music. In 2004, his keen interest in the British clarinet tradition brought him to the Royal College of Music in London where he was awarded the Artist Diploma, and was subsequently appointed the 2005/6 David Bowerman Junior Fellow. His principal teachers have included Richard Hosford, Franklin Cohen, David Shifrin and Richard Hawkins.

Alongside orchestral playing Ramon is a committed chamber musician and performs regularly with his own ensemble, Trio Orfeo.

In addition to his performing career, Ramon is an internationally acclaimed clarinet and saxophone mouthpiece craftsman. His clients include many of the worlds leading soloists, recording artists, professors and orchestral musicians. For more information please visit

Charles Neidich

A native New Yorker, Charles Neidich began his clarinet studies with his father, Irving Neidich, at the age of eight, and continued them with the renowned teacher Leon Russianoff and, later in Moscow, with Boris Dikov. His reputation has grown steadily since his 1974 New York recital début while still a student at Yale. A series of prizes helped launch his early career: the Silver Medal in the 1979 Geneva International Music Competition, Second Prize in the 1982 Munich International Competition and one of three Grand Prizes in the 1984 Accanthes International Competition in Paris. In 1985, he won the first major clarinet competition in the United States, the Walter W. Naumburg Competition, which catapulted him into prominence as a soloist. Mr. Neidich has been influential in restoring original versions of works and bringing them before the public. A list of the clarinet classics he has restored to their original form includes works as diverse as the Mozart Concerto, Concerti of Weber and Copland, the Soireestücke of Robert Schumann, and the Andante and Allegro of Ernest Chausson. Mr. Neidich is also an ardent exponent of new music and has premiered works by Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Edison Denisov, Helmut Lachenmann, William Schuman, Ralph Shapey, Joan Tower, Katia Tchemberdji, Vasilii Lobanov and others. He has championed John Corigliano’s Concerto, performing it throughout the United States notably with the Syracuse and Jacksonville Symphonies in performances. Charles Neidich has made numerous recordings on both modern and historical instruments, both as soloist and with his period-instrument wind ensemble Mozzafiato.

From 1985 to 1989 he was professor of clarinet at the Eastman School of Music, and is currently on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College The New School for Music, and CUNY Queens College.

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Ayako Oshima

Ayako Oshima, winner of numerous international competitions, is one of the most popular clarinet soloists in Japan where she performs on a regular basis both in recital and in concerto appearances with orchestra. Festivals in which she has participated include the Sarasota Summer Music Festival in Florida, the Festival Consonances in France, and in Japan at the Mt. Fuji and the Kirishima International Music Festival. Ms. Oshima is a member of the award winning chamber ensemble, Contrasts Quartet. In addition to her performing career, she maintains a high profile as a teacher and is on the faculties of The Juilliard School, the State University of New York at Purchase, and The Hartt School. She has kept her connection with the Toho School and gives regular master classes there. She has also served on the juries of both the Japan Music Competition and the Japan Winds and Percussion International Competitions. With her husband, Charles Neidich, she has written a book on the basics of clarinet technique for the publisher Toa Ongaku Inc. and has founded the Kita Karuizawa Music Seminar.

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Elsa Ludewig Verdehr

Elsa Ludewig Verdehr studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Eastman School of Music from which she received a Performer’s Certificate and Doctor of Musical Arts degree studying with Stanley Hasty. She has performed, lectured and given master classes at numerous National and International Clarinet Congresses and for several years was a participant in the Marlboro Music Festivals and touring groups. She has appeared frequently in the U.S and abroad as a recitalist, clinician and soloist with orchestras and was principal clarinetist of the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra for 24 years. As a member of the Richards Wind Quintet, she played in more than half of the United States, Canada and at the White House. As a member of the Verdehr Trio she has toured in all states of the US, in 20 European countries as well as in Asia, Australia, South and Central America and has produced over 30 CDs and DVDs. She has solo recordings on Grenadilla and Mark labels. From Michigan State University she received a Distinguished Faculty Award and was later appointed as a University Distinguished Professor. Her students occupy numerous university and orchestral positions throughout the US and abroad. In 2007 she was awarded honorary membership in the International Clarinet Society for her “lifetime achievements as a performer and teacher”.

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Guy Yehuda

Israeli-American clarinetist Guy Yehuda was the top prizewinner of the 2003 Heida Hermanns International Woodwind Competition, the 2004 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition, and the 2004 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition (as a member of Trio di Colore.)  Since his North American concerto debut with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra and conductor Peter Oundjian, Mr. Yehuda has toured extensively in Europe, North America, and Israel.  As principal clarinetist, Mr. Yehuda has performed with the Lucerne Contemporary Festival Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others, as well as guest clarinetist with the Israel Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Yehuda performed on European and American tours under the batons of top conductors including Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Yuri Temirkanov, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Sir Andrew Davis, Kurt Sanderling, Roberto Abbado, Cliff Colnot, Fabio Mechetti, Peter Oundjian, and Daniel Barenboim. He has also collaborated with Steve Reich, George Benjamin, Menahem Pressler from the Beaux-Arts Trio, and the Borromeo and Cypress String Quartets, to name a few.

Mr. Yehuda premiered a new clarinet concerto written for him by the renowned Israeli composer Haim Permont with the acclaimed Tel-Aviv Soloist Orchestra in a 2009-10-concert tour and in April 2013 is scheduled to premier a new double concerto by composer Jim Stephenson. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals such as Spoleto (USA), Verbier, Lucerne (Switzerland), Ottawa ChamberFest, Parry Sound, Domain Forget (Canada), Fountain Arts Concert Series, and the Israeli Chamber Music Festivals of Kfar Blum and Haifa.

Mr. Yehuda is a particularly active chamber musician and tours extensively with the award winning chamber music group: Trio di Colore (with Yuval Gotlibovich-Viola and Jimmy Briere-Piano) of which he is the founding member. Mr. Yehuda has recorded with Hal Leonard productions, IU New Music Ensemble, a number of live recordings for the CBC, Albany Records, and for XII-21 Canadian label – solo and trio music of Jean Françaix.

Mr. Yehuda is a Selmer-Paris and RICO international performing artist, and an active clinician in the U.S and abroad. He has been the artistic director of the Florida Clarinet Extravaganza, and the Cummer Family Foundation Chamber Series in Florida. He served for many years as faculty resident at the acclaimed Orford summer festival in Quebec, Canada. Currently he is the clarinet faculty resident at the Vianden and Saarburg summer festivals in Europe.  Mr. Yehuda has served for the past seven years as Associate Professor of Clarinet at the University of North Florida. In August 2013 he will assume his new position as Associate Professor of Clarinet at Michigan State University. Mr. Yehuda is also a published composer and winner of the prestigious America-Israel composition award, having worked individually with Pierre Boulez, P.Q. Phan, Alexander Rappoport, Yinaam Leef, Haim Permont, and Sergiu Natra.

Mr. Yehuda received his Doctorate and Master’s Degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, as well as a Performer Certificate, the highest honor awarded to a performer at this venerable institution. Prior to that Mr. Yehuda received his Artist Diploma and Bachelor’s degree from the Glenn Gould Professional Music School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

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Tasha Warren-Yehuda

Tasha Warren-Yehuda, an avid teacher and international performer, has premiered numerous solo clarinet and chamber works, working closely with composers and conductors including Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, Cliff Colnot, and Oliver Knussen. She has recorded with Innova, Alba, and SCI Records, the I.U. New Music Ensemble, Hal Leonard Productions, CBC Radio, and PBC Korea television. Crystal Records released her CD, “The Naked Clarinet” in December 2009, which hailed praise in reviews from International Record Review, Fanfare Magazine, The Clarinet Magazine, and others.

Dr. Warren-Yehuda has taught on the music performance faculties of Louisiana State University and the University of Virginia. She played principal clarinet with the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2011, and Columbus Indiana Philharmonic from 2004-2009. She has implemented chamber music programs with MAYO Youth Orchestra, University of Virginia, and the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra. She holds MM and DM performance degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, from the studios of Eli Eban and James Campbell.

Michael Webster

Michael Webster is Professor of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Artistic Director of the Houston Youth Symphony. Formerly principal clarinetist with the Rochester Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, he has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Described by the Boston Globe as “a virtuoso of burgeoning prominence,” he has performed in all of New York City’s major halls, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, Da Camera of Houston, Context, the Tokyo, Cleveland, Muir, Ying, Leontóvych, Enso, Dover, and Chester String Quartets, and the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Chamber Music West and Northwest, Norfolk, Victoria, Stratford, Domaine Forget, Angel Fire, Steamboat Springs, Park City, Sitka, La Musica di Asolo, Skaneateles, and Orcas Island.

Webster has given recitals and master classes all over the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. With his wife, flutist Leone Buyse, and pianist Robert Moeling he plays in the Webster Trio. His recordings appear on the Arabesque, Albany, Bridge, Centaur, C.R.I., Crystal, and Nami (Japan) labels. As composer and arranger he has been published by G. Schirmer, International, and Schott. Highly respected as a teacher, he is a member of the editorial staff of The Clarinet magazine, contributing a regular column entitled “Teaching Clarinet.” A Buffet artist-clinician, Webster plays Buffet clarinets exclusively.

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Leone Buyse

Leone Buyse is the Joseph and Ida Kirkland Mullen Professor of Flute at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston. Previously a principal flutist of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops and member of the San Francisco Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic, she has appeared as soloist with those orchestras and also with the Utah Symphony and l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. She has performed with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players throughout Europe and Japan, with the Tokyo, Juilliard, Brentano, and Muir String Quartets, and in recital with Jessye Norman and Yo-Yo Ma. A renowned educator, she has taught at the New England Conservatory, Boston University, the University of Michigan, and the Aspen, Sarasota, and Norfolk music festivals, and has presented recitals and master classes across the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Her solo recordings are available on the Crystal, Boston Records, Albany and C.R.I. labels. Former students hold positions at major universities and in many major orchestras, including the symphony orchestras of Cleveland, San Francisco, St. Louis, Houston, and Kansas City, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, the New Zealand Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony, and the Singapore Symphony.

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Collaborative Pianists

Genady Zagor

Genadi Zagor, a native of Krasnodar, Russia, had his professional piano debut at age 10. Since then, he has performed to critical acclaim in recitals and orchestral appearances around the world in Russia, Israel, Japan, England, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the United States. In the year 2000, Genadi moved to the United States and became an assistant of Maestro Toradze at Indiana University of South Bend. After completing his Artist Diploma program Genadi had served as a Visiting Artist in the School of Music at University of Northern Iowa for six years. Mr. Zagor pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at Michigan State University in the studio of distinguished Professor Moriarty and continues perform with faculty and in Marathon projects conducted by renown author Joseph Horowitz. Critics praised Mr. Zagor playing with phrases such as: “sensational”, “nimble-fingered”, “electrifying performance” and “superb pianist-walking the fine line between jazz and classical with perfect balance”.

Zhao Wang

A native of Guiyang, China, pianist Zhao Wang is currently a candidate of Doctor of Music Arts under the tutelage of Prof. Deborah Moriarty and Dr. Zhihua Tang at Michigan State University. Before moving to Michigan, she studied at Eastman School of Music and Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She has been invited frequently to perform as a soloist and chamber musician throughout cities in Europe, North America, and Asia. Ms. Wang has participated in master classes by Maestro Leon Fleisher, Russell Sherman, and many other globally renowned musicians. Music festival appearances include Banff, Bowdoin, Boston, Washington D.C., among many others.