Clarinet world mourns a master and mentor

Clarinet world mourns a master and mentor


norman lebrecht

December 13, 2017

The death last night of Harry Spaarnay has drawn a flood of tributes and sorrow from pupils and friends.

Harry, who was 73, was the master of the bass clarinet, a specialised instrument with a repertoire all its own.

He played classics and jazz with equal enthusiasm and composed between gigs to keep broadening the rep and inspiring other composers. At least 650 scores were written at his behest. Some called him the Godfather of the bass clarinet, though he was never power minded.

Sarah Watts writes: ‘The bass clarinet world is tonight lost for words. Harry Sparnaay – we will all miss you so much. Thank you for your friendship, for your years of love and devotion to our instrument and for the legacy that you have left us. It was an honour to know you and consider you a friend.’