The Best Colleges for Clarinet Performance In the Country

 10. Northwestern University Bienen School of Music – Evanston, IL

Notable FacultySteven Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom

An accomplished teacher and active clinician and concerto soloist, Steven Cohen hosts a competitive studio in Evanston, IL for the top young clarinetists in the nation. Known as a teacher who pursues the basic fundamentals of clarinet performance, Cohen’s students receive an education that provides for them an incredibly solid foundation for their futures as professional woodwind artists. His resume’ boasts a wide variety of unique teaching and performing experiences, including professorship at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, tours throughout the US as principal clarinet of the Texas Opera Theater, and as principal clarinet of the Louisiana Philharmonic.

9. Oberlin College-Conservatory – Oberlin, OH

Notable FacultyRichard Hawkins

A well-known and in-demand professor and clarinetist, Richard Hawkins also holds an unusual distinction as being both an expert and a craftsman when it comes to clarinet mouthpieces. His studio is exceptionally competitive and selective at the undergraduate level, as his students often come from top high school preparatory programs and have already enrolled in top summer music festivals throughout the world. His studio of undergraduates regularly ascend to top graduate schools and perform internationally.

Here is a video where Richard Hawkins delves into his unique artistry as a clarinetist and even shows off some of his skills to us.

8. Cleveland Institute of Music – Cleveland, OH

Notable Faculty: Franklin Cohen, Linnea Neirem

Having been on the Cleveland Institute of Music faculty for almost 40 years, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra roster since 1976, Frank Cohen is among the elite pedagogues and orchestral performers in the realm of contemporary woodwind artists. His students have, for nearly four decades, advanced to many of the top positions available to woodwind musicians, including tenures in orchestras, teaching at festivals and colleges, and performing in chamber ensembles.

A musician possibly most widely heard as providing the clarinet tone behind the famous original Ms. Pac Man character, Linnea Neirem is the bass clarinetist with the Cleveland Orchestra and has maintained that position since 1985.

7. Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and Arts – Tempe, AZ

Notable FacultyRobert Spring

Past president of the International Clarinet Association, Robert Spring is one of the most notable college music teachers in the southwest portion of the United States. Leading one of the finest music departments at ASU, Robert Spring is an accomplished clarinetist who consistently receives press in top classical music publications. His students are among the most advanced clarinet students in the country.

A very famous and widely circulated video lesson of him explaining his warm-up routine can be seen below:

Listen to the Faculty: Check out Robert Spring performing on the CD Tarantelle.


  1. Luke October 2, 2014
  2. xhris January 10, 2015
    • YT June 24, 2015
  3. YT June 24, 2015
  4. LJ February 6, 2016

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