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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Names Joseph Morris Principal Clarinet; Newest Member of Orchestra Family to Begin Duties on July 23 at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre for Summer Festival Concert

Orange County, Calif. — July 06, 2016

Music Director Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony announce the addition of Joseph Morris as its new principal clarinetist. Morris debuts with the orchestra on Saturday, July 23 for the Symphony’s “Beethoven’ Ninth” Summer Festival concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. After reviewing a performance by Morris, classical music blog The Well-Tempered Ear remarked: “It was that gorgeous and that elegiac, that moving and that unforgettable. It was nothing short of sublime.” An emerging clarinetist equally at home as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral performer, Morris has been the principal clarinet of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, where he was featured as soloist in performances of Copland’s “Clarinet Concerto” in September 2015. Recent engagements as soloist include performances with the Burbank Philharmonic, Downey Symphony Orchestra, West Los Angeles Symphony, Middleton Community Orchestra and with the Colburn Orchestra in a performance of John Adams’ “Gnarly Buttons” directed by the composer.

“The absolutely brilliant new, young first clarinetist of the orchestra, Joseph Morris, is a fabulous soloist. During simple passages and extremely demanding fast ones, he is able to meet the great virtuosic demands while also demonstrating the nuances of color of which the clarinet is capable,” commented John Barker of the alternative weekly, The Isthmus.

The Symphony’s new principal clarinetist is thrilled to be joining Pacific Symphony and says, “I feel great about this! I love playing in an orchestra and all of the joys and challenges that come with it. I cannot wait to collaborate with so many new colleagues. I grew up in the Bay Area of Northern California and went to school in Los Angeles at USC and then The Colburn Conservatory of Music, so I have been familiar with Pacific Symphony for a long time. I got to work on several occasions with Maestro Carl St.Clair while I was a student. It is very exciting for me to get to return to Southern California now.”

A laureate of numerous competitions, Morris has been awarded first prize in the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts Competition, the Hennings-Fischer Foundation Competition, the Downey Symphony Young Artist Competition, the Music Teacher’s National Association Solo Competition and concerto competitions at the Music Academy of the West, the Thornton School of Music and the National Repertory Orchestra. He was a semifinalist in the Fifth Carl Nielsen International Competition in Odense, Denmark in 2013. An avid chamber musician, Morris has performed as part of the Colburn Chamber Music Society where he collaborated with musicians including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Andrew Bain, John Perry and Richard Beene. As part of the Accord Quintet, he was awarded the Honorable Mention Prize in the finals of the 2012 Coleman National Chamber Music Competition.

Morris has performed live on Wisconsin Public Radio with pianist Christopher Taylor and collaborated with composer John Harbison at his Token Creek Music Festival in 2014. He was a member of the clarinet faculty at the Luzerne Music Center in New York from 2014-15, where he performed as part of the Luzerne Chamber Players. As guest principal clarinet, he has played with the Sarasota Orchestra and the Boise Philharmonic, plus, he has performed with Utah Symphony and Opera, Kansas City Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony and New World Symphony. Morris has participated in festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and School, Music Academy of the West, National Orchestral Institute, the National Repertory Orchestra and the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival.

Morris received a Professional Studies Certificate from the Colburn Conservatory of Music in 2014 after studying with the renowned professor Yehuda Gilad. He graduated from the USC Thornton School of Music in May 2012 where he received the prestigious Presidential Scholarship. Morris has performed in master classes for Martin Fröst and has studied extensively with Yehuda Gilad, Richie Hawley, Bil Jackson, Mark Brandenburg and Fred Rast.