Clarinetist Jon Manasse has performed to international acclaim as a soloist with such orchestras as the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra; the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Seattle; and in renowned music venues worldwide. Jon tours with pianist Jon Nakamatsu as the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo, whose harmonia mundi recording of Brahms’ clarinet sonatas was selected by The New York Times as the best of 2008. In 2013, harmonia mundi released his recording of Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet with the Tokyo String Quartet. Jon has collaborated with many of the leading quartets including the Emerson, American, and Ying. Commissioned and premiered works include those by John Novacek, Paquito D’Rivera, Lowell Liebermann, and Gordon Goodwin. Jon is principal clarinet of Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Ballet Theater, and the Mostly Mozart Festival, and has also served as principal of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He toured as guest principal clarinetist with The Cleveland Orchestra both at home and abroad on its 2013 European tour. Jon is on the faculties of music schools and conservatories including Juilliard, Eastman, Mannes, and Lynn University. Together with Jon Nakamatsu, he serves as artistic co-director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival.
If you could meet any musician or composer, who would you choose?
I would have to say Mozart. There are so many reasons I’d want to spend time with him. He recognized the enormous potential of the clarinet’s unique voice in solo, chamber, and orchestral music. Without Mozart and his great admiration for the instrument, it is unlikely that other composers would have carried the torch further.
Where are we most likely to find you when you’re not playing clarinet?
I’m most likely to be with my family—and our dog Babka!
Describe your perfect day in New York City.
My favorite places in New York City are Riverside Park and Central Park. A perfect day would include a bike ride with my kids and Babka (and maybe a little bit of clarinet practicing...).