The Italian bassoonist Carlo Colombo has been the principal bassoonist of the Opéra National de Lyon since 1983. He was the principal bassoon of I Solisti Veneti, and he has played as principal with many ensembles in Europe (the orchestras of La Scala in Milan and of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester in Hamburg, Orchestre de Paris, Tonhalle Zürich etc.). He teaches at the conservatoires in Lyon and Lausanne and at Indiana University and the Oberlin Conservatory (USA). He has made guest appearances at many festivals and regularly gives master classes in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.
The Hungarian bassoonist Bence Bogányi is a graduate of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and of the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. He won the First Prize at the Bernhard Crusell Competition in Finland (1997) and the Fernand Gillet/Hugo Fox Competition in the USA (2006). In the course of his career, he has served as principal bassoon for several ensembles, including the Munich Philharmonic (2007–2013). He has appeared all over Europe and Japan, performing with the Chantilly Quintet in Greece, the Czech Republic, Africa, and elsewhere, and with the Baborák Ensemble he has taking part in making a CD recording with Mozart’s French horn concertos in an arrangement by Radek Baborák (Supraphon 2018).
The Norwegian bassoonist Ole Kristian Dahl studied in Stavanger, Geneva, and Hannover. He was the principal bassoonist of the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur and of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen, and since 2002 he has been the principal bassoonist of the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne. Has also collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic and Munich Philharmonic as well as with many orchestras in Scandinavia. He has a busy schedule as a successful teacher. Since 2008 he has been a professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Mannheim, and he teaches at master classes all around the world (Los Angeles, Seoul, Helsinki, Tokyo and elsewhere).
From September 1987, the Austrian bassoonist Richard was the solo bassoonist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He studied bassoon in his native city at the Graz Conservatoire and then at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He is a laureate of several international competitions in Munich, Vienna, and Manchester. He appears regularly at chamber music festivals (Pablo Casals Festival in Prades, Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Musiktage Mondsee, Crusell Week in Finland etc.), and since 2010 he has been a member of the Wiener Kammerensemble and of the wind quintet Ensemble Wien–Berlin. He teaches at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna.
A graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and a winner of the 1991 Prague Spring Competition, Jaroslav Kubita has played principal bassoon in the Czech Philharmonic since 2003 and is a member of the orchestra since 1996. In the late 1980s, he won competitions in Munich, Manchester, Leszno, and elsewhere. He gained his first professional experience in the orchestra of the Smetana Theatre (now the State Opera) in Prague, then he served for several years as the principal bassoonist of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since 1986, he has also been a member of the ensemble In modo camerale. He performs as a soloist and has a number of CD recordings to his credit. He sits on juries, and since 2009 he been teaching bassoon at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno. He has performed several times at Prague Spring.
The French bassoonist Laurent Lefèvre studied at the Conservatoire de Paris. His competition successes include victories in Toulon (1988) and Geneva (1995). He has held the position of principal bassoon of the Orchestra of the Paris National Opera since 1991, and he appears as a soloist with major orchestras (Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Suisse Romande Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Caracas et al.). He has taught at the Lyon Conservatoire (1998–2008), and he regularly gives master classes all over Japan, in Caracas, and in Montreal. He is also an active player of chamber music, on the concert stage, and in the recording studio (for the Naxos and Harmonia Mundi labels).
The German bassoonist Matthias Racz, winner of the Prague Spring International Competition and of the ARD Competition in Munich (both 2002), has been the principal bassoonist of the Tonhalle-Orchester in Zurich and of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra since 2003. He appears with many renowned ensembles including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and he performs at many festivals (Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). He teaches at the Zurich University of the Arts and gives master classes all around the world.
The Finnish clarinettist Harri Mäki is a professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and he teaches master classes in Europe and North America. He began learning clarinet in Finland, he graduated from the Geneva Conservatoire, and he has studied privately with a number of artists (Osmo Vänskä, Antony Pay, John McCaw, and Charles Neidich). He was a founding member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta (1988), where he served as the principal clarinettist until 2018. As a soloist and chamber music player, he has appeared in Europe, South America, the USA, and the Far East, and he records for the BIS and Ondine labels. In 2012 he received the Pro Musica Award.
The British clarinettist Nicholas Cox is a professor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Playing chamber music, he has collaborated with such ensembles as the Škampa Quartet and the Brodsky Quartet, and he has appeared as a soloist at many festivals in Britain and in other countries. He appears regularly as principal clarinettist with British orchestras led by renowned conductors including Claudio Abbado and Libor Pešek. From 1992 until 2014 he was the principal clarinettist of the Liverpool Philharmonic, and founded and led Ensemble 10/10, which specialises in contemporary music. Nicholas Cox is a distinguished teacher and hold master classes all around the world.
The Czech clarinettist Igor Františák teaches at the Ostrava University Faculty of Arts. After graduating from the conservatoire and university in Ostrava, he furthered his studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He has appeared as a soloist with the Janáček Philharmonic in Ostrava, the Bohdan Warchal Slovak Chamber Orchestra, the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic, and many other orchestras, and he gives recitals with the pianists Martin Kasík, Ivo Kahánek, and Marek Kozák. He is also involved with period performance practice on the chalumeau and on clarinets of the Baroque and Classical periods. He is an official player of instruments from the company Buffet Crampon and the American firm D’Addario Woodwinds.
The German clarinettist Johannes Gmeinder teaches at musical institutions of higher learning in Mainz, Saarbrücken, and Leipzig, and he has studied clarinet in Trossingen and Berlin. Since 1999, he has been the principal clarinettist of the Frankfurt Opera. In that capacity, he collaborates with many important German opera companies and orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic. He is the founder of Ensemble Con Sequenz and appears regularly in chamber music and as a soloist at many festivals including the BBC Proms in London and the Salzburg Festival. He regularly gives master classes, and he is in demand as a member of juries for international competitions.
The French clarinettist Michel Lethiec teaches at the Conservatoire de Paris and is the artistic director of the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades. He is a prominent figure on the international music scene. He is an enthusiastic promoter of contemporary music and has premiered many compositions (Penderecki, Denisov, Corigliano, Landowski, Mařatka et al.). Some of his numerous recordings for companies including Lyrinx, Naxos, Arion, and RCA have won prestigious awards including the Grand Prix du Disque twice. Lethiec gives master classes all around the world, and he appears with renowned orchestras, as well as devoting himself intensively to performing chamber music. He belongs to France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
The Czech clarinettist Vlastimil Mareš teaches at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and is the principal clarinettist of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He has one 1st prize at many international competitions including the 1981 Prague Spring International Competition. He has been a member of a number of expert committees, and from 2016 to 2019 he was a committee member for the Prague Spring International Music Competition. He has given concerts in most of the countries of Europe, the USA, and Japan. He teachers master classes in Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, and Korea. He is a member of the Prague Wind Quintet, with which he has recorded a number of CDs and has made recordings for radio and television. He has appeared repeatedly at Prague Spring since 1981.
The Japanese clarinettist Masatoshi Tanaka studied at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and at the Conservatoire de Paris. In Japan, he is intensively engaged with the international non-profit organisation Forest Stewardship Council, which strives for the preservation of forests, and he appears at charity concerts for children, children’s homes, and hospices. He teaches at the Tokyo Gakugei University, the Heisei College of Music in Mifune, and the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music in Kawasaki. In 2017 and 2019 he participated at the festival Prague Clarinet Days as an interpreter and instructor.