Spotlight on 3 Clarinetists

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

There is a large gap in the professional classical music world where there are people in our profession we view as having "made it", and the few people we interact with in school. I wanted to force myself out of my bubble to get to know and reconnect with some amazing womxn. I went on Instagram and typed in clarinet and the people that I randomly chose were the ones I had to message.

I am so glad to have the privilege of sharing the highlights from my interviews with three spectacular clarinetists currently in New York, Florida, and Arizona.My hope is that by interviewing musicians in the "in-between", we can get an insight into classical musicians as people. There is so much value in the journey, and getting to see how different everyone's journey in classical music is, I feel we can find comfort in community in sharing experiences.


Marissa Stanfill

Can you share what you have learned and gained from each of your degrees?

I received my first degree from Troy University, and it really set me up as a clarinet player. It also taught me how to balance having a busy schedule.

For my master's, I studied at Baylor University and it presented me with many performance opportunities that allowed me to grow as an artist. Equally important it brought a special group of talented and supportive colleagues into my life.

I am currently studying at Florida State University. It feels like I am learning to become a true professional in the field of classical music.

Are you working on any new projects?

Through a class I am currently in at FSU, I became aware that there was an opportunity to reach a network of people that I could potentially help by sharing the knowledge I have gained in clarinet performance and education. So, I have begun posting videos on a new Instagram platform @clarinet.coldbrew.

I am also working on a recital next semester where I am performing an English first half as a tribute to my professor Jonathan Holden.

Could you share some advice for young people that are either interested in or are already in classical music?

Even in the times when you feel like what you are doing isn’t impactful, your efforts always add up. Always remember your end goal.


R13 Buffet clarinet

Vandoren M30 mouthpiece

BG Silver Plated Duo

Vandoren V12


Alexandra Chea

Can you share what you have learned and gained from each of your degrees?

I am actually from the Bahamas and we had a fair where schools came to invite people to study in different places, and initially, the facilities really drew me to Messiah. I was actually a double major and with so much happening in that first degree, you have so many people and influences happening all at once, so I think my time there really taught me how to be independent.

Here at Arizona State there are so many amazing clarinetists and it can be easy to question yourself, so I think here I am becoming a stronger clarinetist mentally.

You are very active on Instagram. Are you working on any new projects?

I am! I am putting together two virtual collabs, the Ibert trio, and I messaged about 10 clarinetists to make a virtual clarinet choir and I am waiting to hear back. I am really excited!

Could you share some advice for young people that are either interested in or are already in classical music?

Be strong. You always want to improve, so don't think of your experiences as negatives, but an opportunity to grow


R13 Buffet clarinet

Clark W barrel

BD mouthpiece

Silverstein CRYO4 ligature

Légère 4.25 European Cut


Dr. Saerom Kim

You have a very unique experience in terms of where you studied. Can you share that with the readers?

I moved from South Korea to the States at 13. The father of a close friend of mine is a violinist, and he introduced me to Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima. From there I learned about the Pre-College program at Julliard. I auditioned and studying with them so I stayed there for both my bachelor's degree and master's degree. Then I took a couple of gap years to study and take lessons in Europe, but I came back and auditioned at the Hartt school because Ayoko teaches there. I just grew so much with them; they aren't just good teachers, they really take care of their students as people.

What was it like starting at such a young age?

Early education is extremely important in South Korea. When you are 10, you want to play, explore, and have fun with your friends, but my parents' way of showing love was to make sure I was prepared. I was constantly going to lessons and studying. I often wondered what it would have been like to start younger. I was always rushing and felt anxious about my career, at 13, just imagine!

Could you share some advice for young people that are either interested in or are already in classical music?

As a clarinetist that started early, I felt like I was rushing let yourself be curious, and don’t be stressed. Let yourself experience life.


R13 Bb Buffet clarinet

Festival A clarinet

M30 mouthpiece refaced by Seggelke

M30 D mouthpiece

Ishimori ligature

Wood Stone Reeds



COVID may be keeping us all apart, but we at VWCM are excited to find ways to build community in any way we can. If someone on Instagram inspires you, let them know. If you are curious about how they do something, ask for guidance. Not only does this satisfy your curiosity, but it also brings joy to those that you are messaging.

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