Clarinetist and bass clarinetist David Howard joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1981, when, at age 25, he was hired by then music director Carlo Maria Giulini. Prior to that, Howard was principal clarinetist with the New Jersey Symphony and the New Haven Symphony. He has participated in performances as principal clarinet with the San Diego Symphony and at the Colorado Music Festival, and as bass clarinet at the Aspen Music Festival. In smaller ensembles he has been featured in performances ranging from the Mozart C Minor Serenade conducted by Christopher Hogwood to Stravinsky’s L’histoire du Soldat conducted by Simon Rattle and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, conducted by Pierre Boulez. In the 2012-2013 season, Howard served as acting Associate Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
As soloist and chamber musician, Howard has played a wide range of repertoire in the United States and Europe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music Society and at series including the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Los Angeles and Chicago, the Edinburgh Music Festival, and the Bahnhof Rolandseck Festival in Bonn. He has been a soloist and chamber music collaborator at clarinet festivals in the United States, Vancouver, Beijing, and Tel Aviv. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Howard performed as soloist in John Harbison’s Concerto for Oboe, Clarinet, and Strings under the direction of the composer. At concerts in Los Angeles and Alice Tully Hall in New York, he was the bass clarinet soloist in Iannis Xenakis’ Échange, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. He has participated in performances and premieres of large and small works conducted by composers including John Adams, Thomas Adès , Pierre Boulez, John Harbison, Witold Lutoslawski, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Steven Stucky. In early 2015 Howard was featured as bass clarinet soloist in the role of the Caterpillar in Unsuk Chin’s opera Alice in Wonderland.
Listen to David Howard’s recording of the unaccompanied bass clarinet solo, “Advice from a Caterpillar,” from Unsuk Chin’s opera “Alice in Wonderland”
In addition to his many recordings as bass clarinetist in the Philharmonic, Howard has recorded from each chair in the orchestra’s clarinet section, including principal clarinet in La Mer, Eb clarinet in Symphonie Fantastique, and contrabass clarinet in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s LA Variations. As clarinetist Howard has recorded with Southwest Chamber Music and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. In collaboration with former Philharmonic pianist Zita Carno, Howard recorded a compact disc for the Centaur label entitled Capriccio: Mid-century Music for Clarinet, which includes works by Leonard Bernstein, Paul Hindemith, and Witold Lutosławski. With Philharmonic colleagues he has released a compact disc on the Yarlung label, which includes works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, Galina Ustvolskaya, and Brahms; this disc was also released as a high-resolution download by Linn Records and HDtracks.
Listen to an excerpt from the fourth movement of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nachtlieder for Clarinet and Piano from this Yarlung disc.
A Los Angeles native, Howard received a B.A. in Russian Literature from Yale University, graduating magna cum laude. He was a student of Mitchell Lurie and Leon Russianoff and also received training from oboist Robert Bloom and soprano Phyllis Curtin while at Yale. Since 1986, he has served on the faculty of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.