Stephen Williamson

Faculty, Interlochen Clarinet Institute

Principal Clarinet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

M.M., Juiilard School ('95); Fulbright Scholar Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Germany ('91-'93); Artist Diploma Prague Mozart Academy ('93); BM and Perf Certificate Eastman School of Music ('91)

Stephen Williamson is the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Riccardo Muti.  Mr. Williamson was formerly the principal clarinetist of both the New York Philharmonic (2013-14) as well the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (2003-11).  In addition, he has been a frequent guest principal clarinetist with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra in Japan under Maestro Seiji Ozawa.

Mr. Williamson is currently a faculty member of DePaul University in Chicago, IL.  He has served on the faculty at Columbia University and the Mannes College of Music in New York City, as well as at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.  He has recorded for the Sony Classics, Telarc, CRI, BMG, Naxos and Decca labels and can be heard on numerous film soundtracks.  Mr. Williamson was a featured soloist with the CSO under the baton of John Williams, recording his Oscar-nominated score for Steven Spielberg's film, "Lincoln.”

An avid soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Williamson has performed extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia.  He has collaborated with such artists as: James Levine, Yo-Yo Ma, Mitsuko Uchida, Jeffrey Kahane, Anne Marie McDermott, Emanuel Ax, Meliora Winds, Aspen, Dorian and Sylvan Wind Quintets; Brentano, American, Jasper, Brasilia and Dover String Quartets. Past concerto performances include the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with both the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan (2011) and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in Carnegie Hall with Maestro Fabio Luisi (2012). Mr. Williamson recently performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the CSO and Maestro Gennady Rozhdestvenskyi in February, 2016.

He received his Bachelor’s degree and Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and his Master’s degree from the Juilliard School. As a Fulbright Scholar, he furthered his studies at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where he collaborated with various members of the Berlin Philharmonic. His past teachers include Peter Rieckhoff, Charles Neidich, Kenneth Grant and Michael Webster.  Mr. Williamson was the grand prize winner of the 1994 Boosey & Hawkes/Buffet Crampon First Annual North American Clarinet Competition.  Other past awards include the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition.

A long-time Selmer-Paris and Vandoren Artist, Mr. Williamson currently plays Selmer Signature clarinets and uses Vandoren traditional reeds with a James Pyne JX/BC mouthpiece.