Ricardo Morales to perform in Fresno as part of the West Coast Clarinet Congress

Ricardo Morales holds a clarinet in a gray suit and purple tie on a gray background. His signature appears over the background.

The Philadelphia Orchestra principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales will perform in concert as part of the West Coast Clarinet Congress and the San Joaquin Chamber Music Series at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the University Presbyterian Church, 1776 E. Roberts Ave. in Fresno. Tickets are $15 general, $7 seniors and Fresno State employees and free for all students. 

One of the most sought-after clarinetists in the world, in the last year, Morales has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Philharmonie de Paris and the Art Tower Mito in Japan, just to name a few. He is currently the Principle Clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saito Kinen Orchestra and the Mito Chamber Orchestra.

“It’s extremely rare to get Ricardo here. It’s taken years of planning,” said Dr. Miles Ishigaki, professor of music at Fresno State. “Students will have a chance to be exposed to his artistry, electrifying presence and ability to teach.” 

His Fresno performance, with local pianist Summer Ohm, is a unique program that highlights the best of clarinet music in 100-year increments from 1815 until today. 

Grand Duo Concertante, Op. 48 by Carl Maria von Weber is a chamber music piece for clarinet and piano, composed in 1815. It is one of Weber’s most significant works and is considered a cornerstone of the clarinet repertoire.

Fantaisie italienne, Op. 110 (1921) by Marc Delmas begins with a lyrical clarinet melody, which is accompanied by the piano. This is followed by a lively and rhythmic section featuring fast and intricate passages in which the clarinet and piano engage in a lively dialogue, trading off virtuosic passages and complex rhythm.

Clarinet Concerto by Jacob Bancks was co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra for Morales and was first performed in 2021 at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer said the debut performance was “high-energy stuff, and that aspect of the piece gave soloist Ricardo Morales plenty of ways to highlight his superior technical firepower.”

While in Fresno, Morales will host a masterclass at 10 a.m. and a composer clinic forum with Dr. Joseph Bohigian at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, at the University Presbyterian Church. He will then complete his West Coast Clarinet Congress tour with masterclasses and performances in Apple Valley, California.

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Morales became the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York at just 21 years old. He performed as principal clarinet with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and at the invitation of Sir Simon Rattle, guest principal clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic. He also performs as principal clarinet with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra and the Mito Chamber Orchestra at the invitation of Maestro Seiji Ozawa. 
The West Coast Clarinet Congress is sponsored by the Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Associate Students, Inc (ASI). Additional sponsors include Maestro Alcantara-Rojas, Apple Valley Unified School District; Joe Moore, KVPR president and general manager; the Yamaha Corporation of America; University Presbyterian Church; Luyben Music; Bauer Dentistry; Benzler Farms Organic Fruit and Dr. Alan Nerenberg.

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Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

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