Montreal mourns solo clarinet

The Montreal Symphony has announced the death of its retired principal clarinet, Robert Crowley, famed for his introduction to its Dutoit recording of Rhapsody in Blue.

Bob taught two generations of rising clarinet players at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music.

He had also been principal clarinet at Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra and the Hamilton (Ontario) Philharmonic.


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  • He was a lovely player – of the Marcellus school that seemed to dominate the U.S. clarinet scene in the 70s-90s. And surprisingly low-profile in the clarinet world for the principal in a high -profile group like the OSM. But I’m not sure he’s the clarinetist on Rhapsody in Blue; that recording is from 1989, when the late Emilio Iacurto was principal; IIRC Mr. Crowley became principal in 1998 (but was assistant principal from 1978).

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