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Musical World

Robert Plane

  • Clarinetist


Robert Plane's recording was recently selected as the recommended recording of the Concerto in BBC Radio 3's 'Building a Library'.

It was with Finzi’s Concerto that Robert made his Swiss debut in 2004, playing it with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra in that city’s prestigious ‘Tonhalle’. Other major European Halls in which he has performed include Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional de Musica (Mozart Concerto with the City of London Sinfonia), London’s Barbican (London premiere of Diana Burrell’s Clarinet Concerto with Northern Sinfonia, a work written for and premiered by Robert in 1996) and Valletta's historic Manoel Theatre (Copland the the Malta Philharmonic). He has also appeared as soloist with the Ulster Orchestra (Burrell), Bournemouth Sinfonietta (Weber 2 and a live Radio 3 broadcast of Bruch’s Double Concerto for clarinet and viola), Scottish Ensemble (Finzi) and the Brunel Ensemble (Copland) as well as making frequent concerto appearances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom Robert is principal clarinet. His performance of Rossini’s ‘Introduction, Theme and Variations’ was broadcast live on national BBC TV from the 2004 BBC Proms in the Park.

Robert made his London recital debut with pianist Sophia Rahman in 1993 in the Park Lane Group’s ‘New Year Series’ at the Purcell Room. Together with viola player Philip Dukes they formed the Plane Dukes Rahman Trio in 1992. Both Duo and Trio still enjoy a fulfilling schedule of recordings and concerts. Two CDs of music by Schumann and Bruch have been highly praised in the press, as was their appearance at the Cheltenham Festival...

‘The Plane Dukes Rahman Trio were on top form..The whole programme suggested that for these musicians, superb playing is the most natural thing in the world.’ The Daily Telegraph

As a chamber musician Robert has played at many of the major UK halls including the Wigmore, Bridgewater, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh and St. George’s, Bristol. Overseas chamber tours have taken him to North and South America, South Korea and Taiwan and much of Europe, including Germany, France, the Republic of Ireland, Malta, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man performing at festivals from Cheltenham, Spitalfields and Belfast to Hambachermusikfest and Tanglewood, USA.

Robert is clarinettist of the septet mobius with whom he has recorded Weber’s Clarinet Quintet for EMI (‘a terrific account, dazzlingly dispatched by Robert Plane.’ Gramophone) and Francaix’s Clarinet Quintet for ASV. His large discography also includes Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time for Chandos, James MacMillan’s Clarinet Quintet ‘Tuireadh’ for BIS, Brahms Clarinet Trio for Quartz and the complete clarinet works of Herbert Howells, Ireland, Stanford (another Gramophone Editor’s Choice) and Sir Arnold Bax for Naxos (the latter including world premiere recordings of his early Clarinet Sonata in E and the Trio in One Movement for clarinet, violin and piano, shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2006). Recordings of Nielsen and Copland Clarinet Concertos and Debussy’s Premiere Rapsodie have featured on the cover disc of the BBC Music Magazine.

Robert has collaborated with many other ensembles -the Brodsky, Maggini, Vellinger, Emperor, Mandelring, Auer and Kreutzer Quartets, the Leopold String Trio and the chamber ensemble of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He particularly enjoys performing with the Gould Piano Trio and together they established their own annual chamber music festival in the picturesque village of Corbridge in Northumberland in 1999.

Before joining the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as principal clarinet in 1999, Robert was principal clarinet with the Northern Sinfonia. As a guest principal Robert has played with the London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestras and with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He teaches clarinet at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Plane Dukes Rahman Trio are Artists-in-Residence at Queen’s University, Belfast, making four visits a year to give concerts, workshops and lectures.

Robert is married to the violinist Lucy Gould and they live in Cardiff with their daughters Florence and Iris and son Rufus.