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Introducing Artist VIP

William E Powell -  Acclaimed Clarinetist and Pedagogue - Professor at the CalArts Institute of Music at University of Southern California



             William Powell, faculty clarinetist with the CalArts New Century Players, received the Artist's Diploma in Clarinet Performance from the Juilliard School in New York City where he studied with Stanley Drucker, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. After additional studies in New York with Leon Russianoff, he moved to California to study with the principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Michele Zukovsky, at the California Institute of the Arts where he received the M.F.A. in Performance in 1979. After graduation from CalArts, Mr. Powell served on the faculties of the University of California, San Diego; San Diego State University; California State University, Long Beach; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before joining the CalArts faculty.

            The recipient of a Senior Research Grant from the Indo-American Fellowship Program of the J. William Fulbright Commission and a CalArts Faculty Creative Leave funded by George and Mary Lou Boone, Mr. Powell lived from August 1993 to June 1994 in India where, as the first non-Indian clarinetist to be accepted as a disciple, he studied with the "Mount Everest of Clarionet" ó Master Karnatic clarinetist Sri A.K.C. Natarajan of Tiruchirapalli. Under the patronage of Brhaddhvani Research and Training Centre for Musics of the World and its director, Dr. K. S. Subramanian, he presented concerts of American music for clarinet and electronics throughout India and collaborated with Sri A.K.C. Natarajan and Hindustani clarinet virtuoso Sri Narasinhalu Wadavatti in performances of cross-cultural compositions at Rani Seetha Hall in Madras. He also recorded programs of traditional and contemporary music for All India Radio with Indian pianist Handel Manuel.

           Mr. Powell, who has commissioned many new works for clarinet and premiered over 300 compositions, has performed at major concert venues throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia including Avery Fischer Concert Hall, Merkin and Carnegie Recital Halls, and Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at the United Nations in New York; the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; at the North American New Music Festival as soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic; and at the International Congresses on Women in Music in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Bremen. He has performed as soloist in Pierre Boulez's Domaines for clarinet and orchestra at "New Music Los Angeles;" in Igor Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto for clarinet and jazz band with composer/conductor John Adams on the "Green Umbrella" concert series at the Japan American Theatre; in Ed Bland's Magnetic Variations for clarinet and chamber ensemble in a concert in celebration of Martin Luther King Day which was broadcast live on National Public Radio to networks throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Near East; and in the West Coast premiere of Donald Martino's Triple Concerto for three clarinets and chamber orchestra. He has also performed for Swedish National Television and on KUSC, FM radio, Los Angeles; on KFAC, as part of the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department's "Sundays at Seven" series; and on KPFK as guest soloist and host in numerous programs featuring both traditional and contemporary music for the clarinet. He has performed with the Aspen Festival and Chamber Orchestras, the contemporary music ensemble SONOR, the Sierra Wind Quintet, the Naumburg Award-winning Aulos Wind Quintet and, as principal clarinetist, with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the Las Vegas Symphony, the Reno Philharmonic and the Orange County Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded for CRI, Electra/Asylum and Nonesuch labels. He has recorded Virko Baley's Sculptured Birds for clarinet and piano is on the Cambria label. His recording of Barry Schraderís Arabesques for clarinet and electronics is available on Innova.

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Message from William Powell


Agendas and Performance and Teaching Philosophy


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    Revised: January 10, 2019