Lessels, Tom


Tom is from Aberdeen, and learned clarinet at Birmingham Conservatoire with Michael Harris, before completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Timothy Lines, Nicholas Rodwell and Angela Malsbury, where he won the 2006 Buffet-Crampon clarinet competition.

He plays with most of the UK’s leading ensembles including Aurora Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  As a soloist he performed in Polly Findlay’s production of Antigone at the National Theatre, and in Matt Rogers’ opera The Raven in the Grimeborne festival in East London and at Bestival on the Isle of Wight.  He is a member of several chamber ensembles including the European Chamber Players, Ensemble Amorpha and Ossian Ensemble  He has worked with numerous composers including Jonathan Harvey, Thomas Ades, Anna Meredith, Mica Levi and Peter Maxwell Davies.  He is also clarinettist with the Heritage Orchestra performing alongside acts including Antony and the Johnsons, Tim Minchin and The National.
He teaches clarinet at Westminster Abbey Choir School and Eton College, and coaches on the National Children’s Orchestra and Aldeburgh Young Musicians programmes.
Image Credit: 
Alex Bonney

Marsh, Lynsey


Lynsey has been Principal Clarinet with the Hallé since 2001. She studied in Manchester at Chetham's School of Music with Graham Turner and Barry Gregson, both former members of the Hallé. Whilst reading music at Churchill College, Cambridge University, Lynsey was awarded the Gold Medal in the Shell/London Symphony Orchestra Scholarship. As a postgraduate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she studied with Joy Farrall and Thea King, and spent a further year studying privately in Paris with Pascal Moragues. Before joining the Hallé, she was a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Orchestra of English National Opera.

Lynsey has given numerous concerto performances with the Hallé, including the Britten/Colin Matthews Movements for a Clarinet Concerto. As a chamber musician she has given recitals for BBC Radio 3, and appeared at festivals throughout Britain, including Aldeburgh and Cheltenham. She has also performed at the Wigmore Hall as a guest with the Nash Ensemble.

Abroad, Lynsey has performed with the Wind Soloists of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Tanglewood International Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. Lynsey is a member of the Marais Ensemble, which hosts an annual festival in Potton, Bedfordshire, and Ensemble Deva which is the ensemble in residence at the Chester Music Festival. She also teaches at Chetham's School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music.


Image Credit: 
Phil Portus

Blackwell, Virgil

Clarinetist and Bass Clarinetist Virgil Blackwell was a founding member of the new music ensemble Speculum Musicae and a member of the Steve Reich Ensemble from 1976-1986. He has worked closely and collaborated with Elliott Carter since 1971, and Steep Steps, Carter's work for solo bass clarinet, was written for him. Virgil Blackwell has appeared frequently with groups including the MET Chamber Ensemble, the NY Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, NYC Ballet and NYC Opera, and has performed at the Tanglewood, Aspen and The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, among others. His work as a studio musician can be heard on numerous film soundtracks as a featured soloist and sideman. He has recorded for many labels, has been the Executive Producer on discs of Oliver Knussen and Elliott Carter’s music, and was the Executive Producer on the DVD of Carter’s opera, What Next?.
Image Credit: 
Alan Becker

Pay, Antony

Antony Pay was born in London, and gained his early experience playing the clarinet in the National Youth Orchestra, with which he also played concertos in Germany, Russia and Scandinavia at the age of 16.
He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and then read Mathematics at CambridgeUniversity, graduating in 1966. He was Principal Clarinet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 to 1978, of the London Sinfonietta (of which he was a founder member) from 1968 to 1983 and of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields from 1976 to 1986. He has also been a member of several chamber ensembles, including the Nash Ensemble, the London Ensemble, the Tuckwell Wind Quintet, the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble, and Hausmusik. With the London Sinfonietta he collaborated with many of today's leading composers, including Boulez, Stockhausen, Birtwistle, Henze, Maxwell Davies, Goehr and Berio. He was also Professor of Clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1982 to 1990 and taught at the Royal Academy of Music, where he continues to give occasional Masterclasses.
He regularly teaches courses abroad, including classes in Sermoneta, Portogruaro and FirenzeItaly, and has also given Masterclasses in Tokyo, France, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Antony Pay also performs on period clarinets, and his recordings of the
Mozart, Weber and Crusell Concertos are played on specially reconstructed instruments. He currently plays in Hausmusik and also with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, where he is a frequent soloist. He has written for the Journal Early Music, and contributed a chapter to the Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet. He is working on a book concerned mainly with the use of metaphor in teaching and in learning to play. He now teaches a Summer-course at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena.

van de Wiel, Mark

van de Wiel

Mark van de Wiel was born in Northampton, and educated at Merton College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music. He was immediately appointed principal clarinettist with the Welsh National Opera and subsequently with Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Since 2000 he has been Principal Clarinet with the Philharmonia Orchestra and was appointed principal with the London Sinfonietta in 2002.

As a soloist he has performed with the Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta, London Chamber Orchestra (in La Scala, Milan), Thames Chamber Orchestra, Mozart Festival Orchestra (on a major UK tour), Welsh National Opera Orchestra, English Classical Players, Arhus Orchestra, Belgrade Strings, and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He is particularly well known for his performances of contemporary music, and has given many premières. Solo highlights this season include the UK première of Sir John Taverner's Cantus Mysticus with the London Sinfonietta at the Proms, the London première of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Clarinet Quintet with the Brodsky Quartet at Kings Place, Graham Fitkin's Agnostic with the London Chamber Orchestra at St. John's Smith Square, and the Mozart Concerto with the Mozart Festival Orchestra in the UK and Switzerland.

Mark was principal clarinettist with the Composers’ Ensemble from 1992-2000, and has been principal clarinettist with the Endymion Ensemble since its formation. He is also principal with the London Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared for several years as the clarinet and basset horn soloist in the production of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

Mark's services to music have been recognised with an Honorary Associateship from the Royal Academy of Music, where he is a Professor, and with an Honorary Doctorate from Northampton University.

Walton, Bernard

Bernard Walton (1917 – 3 June 1972) was a British classical clarinetist. Walton was born into a musical family. His grandfather was a cellist with the Hallé Orchestra under the eponymous founder Charles Hallé, and his father played in the Queen's Hall Orchestra. He was taught by George Anderson, who was the principal clarinetist at the founding of the London Symphony Orchestra under Hans Richter in 1904. Walton later studied at the Royal College of Music. In 1937, shortly before his 20th birthday, he was appointed principal clarinetist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, joining his father, uncle, and brother as members of that orchestra. He served as principal clarinetist of the Philharmonia from 1953 to 1966, when Walter Legge left the orchestra in 1964. Walton tried unsuccessfully to persuade Legge to continue with the orchestra, and after his departure, Walton was the principal influence in establishing the Philharmonia (now renamed the New Philharmonia Orchestra) as a self-governing body and he served as its first chairman.

Merrick, Linda

Linda holds the position of Principal and Professor at the RNCM, and UK representative for Howarth Clarinets. She has an international profile as a clarinet soloist, recording artist and clinician. Linda’s chamber music output includes premiere recordings of four new clarinet quintets with the Navarra Quartet (Naxos), a new clarinet quintet by John McCabe with the Kreutzer Quartet (Guild), Wilfred Joseph’s Clarinet Quintet and Robert Crawford’s Clarinet Quintet (Metier), chamber works by Malcolm Arnold and John Ireland (Maestro), and Martin Ellerby (ClassicPrint), and new works for clarinet and electronics with Chris Thorpe (Voiceprint).

Sparling, Andrew


Andrew Sparling has played guest principal clarinet with many UK orchestras, including the BBC Scottish, Philharmonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Sinfonietta, Sinfonia ViVA, New Kent Opera and Grange Park Opera.

Andrew also appears regularly with many of the most important Contemporary Music Ensembles in the UK, including the Almeida Opera, Apartment House, Chroma, Double Image, Ensemble Exposè, Gemini, Lontano and the Michael Nyman Band.

As a soloist and chamber musician Andrew performs regularly with the pianist, Thalia Myers and he has also joined the Brindisi Quartet to perform the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, and also the first performance of Gabriel Jackson's Quintet: In Prairial and Thermidor. Andrew has given solo and chamber recitals in the UK, Europe, USA, the Far East and the Middle East.

Andrew has been invited to give recitals at the London Festival of Chamber Music, run by the English String Quartet, every year since 2001

In May 2000, he made his concerto debut at the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia playing theCapriccio Notturno by the French composer, Nicholas Bacri.

Andrew also performs on period instruments, and plays principal clarinet in Charles Hazlewood's orchestra The Mozart Collective, taking part in the BBC 2 drama-documentary series "The Genius of Mozart" broadcast in 2004. Andrew acted the role of clarinettist Anton Stadler and the photo in Andrew's photo gallery (click on the RHS Photo Gallery link) shows him rehearsing Mozart's Clarinet Quintet with the composer. He has since played principal clarinet with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (including a run of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride at Covent Garden, on baroque clarinets), Classical Opera Company, Armonico Consort and the Tallis Scholars.

Subscribe to RSS - clarinet