1940-

July 2, 1940, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

portrait

Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) since February 1966, Clevenger is a versatile musician in many areas, including chamber music, jazz, commercial recordings, and solos. His mentors were Arnold Jacobs and Adolph Herseth.

Before joining the CSO, Clevenger was a member of Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air, directed by Alfred Wallenstein; he also was principal horn of the Kansas City Philharmonic. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras worldwide, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. He has participated in many music festivals, including the Santa Fe (New Mexico) Chamber Music Festival; the Florida Music Festival in Sarasota; the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Washington; and the Affinis Music Festival in Japan. He also participates in the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. In addition, he has worked with the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado, and participated in several International Horn Society workshops.

He has given recitals and master classes throughout the world: Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Japan, China, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Israel.

Clevenger is the featured soloist on several CSO recordings, including works by Martin, Schumann, Britten, and Mozart. He also played on the Grammy Award–winning recording The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli with the brass ensembles of the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland orchestras. He has recorded the horn concertos by Joseph and Michael Haydn with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, as well as all of Mozart’s horn concertos. The Mozart recording was named Record of the Year in Hungary, and both recordings were nominated for Grammy awards. Clevenger also performed with Barenboim and colleagues from the CSO and the Berlin Philharmonic in Chicago and Berlin on the Grammy-winning CD of quintets for piano and winds by Mozart and Beethoven. With Barenboim and Itzhak Perlman, he recorded Brahms’s Horn Trio for HD TV, laser disc, and Sony Classical CD. He performed on the Tribute to Ellington CD with Barenboim and other members of the CSO, and has recorded Strauss’s First Horn Concerto with Barenboim and the CSO. John Williams wrote a horn concerto for him, which he premiered in 2004.

For seventeen years, Clevenger played almost regularly with the group EARS, Jazz of All Eras. In 1985, he received an honorary doctorate from Elmhurst College, Illinois. He currently teaches at Roosevelt University, Chicago, where he is a professor of horn.

Also a conductor, Clevenger served as music director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra for fourteen years. His conducting career has included guest appearances with numerous other orchestras, including the New Japan Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Roosevelt University Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Conservatory Orchestra, the Northwestern University Summer Symphony, the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic of Slovakia in Bratislava, the Sinfonia Crakovia and the Opole Philharmonic in Poland, and the Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Symphony Orchestra.

Ernest Clevenger is his brother.

  1. He Is My Everything