Jean Kopperud

Jean Kopperud.

Jean Kopperud

Jean Kopperud

Performance Unit Coordinator
Professor (Clarinet Performance)


Clarinet Performance


MM, The Juilliard School


"The American clarinetist Jean Kopperud was absolutely smashing" (New York Post). Reviewers have called Kopperud “superhuman”, “magnificent”, “unforgettably visual”, “staggering”, “sensational”, “dazzling”, “wonderful”, “the total clarinetist” and the list goes on. But possibly Allan Kozinn of the New York Times says it best. “It began brilliantly, with an overdriven, virtuosic clarinet line that Jean Kopperud played with the power, texture and coloration that have become her trademark. . . Ms. Kopperud has the technique and imagination to make nearly anything sound interesting.”

A graduate of The Juilliard School and former student of Nadia Boulanger in France, Kopperud has toured the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, the Caribbean and Australia as concert soloist and chamber musician.  She has been a member with The New York New Music Ensemble, Omega, Ensemble 21, Washington Square Chamber Players and University at Buffalo’s Sinfonietta. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Bridge Records, CRI, Albany Records, Mode, G M Recording, Koch, Musical Heritage, New World Records and Centaur Records.

Kopperud is also a performer on the cutting edge of the Music-Theater genre. National acclaim for her presentations of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Harlekin", the demanding performance work for dancing clarinetist, resulted in her Avery Fisher Hall debut presented by the New York Philharmonic. Each holiday season, she takes part in the Twelfth Night Festival in Westerly, Rhode Island, where she is seen starring in unusual performance art roles. Working with Broadway director, Tom O'Horgan, Jean Kopperud developed "CloudWalking" a music-theater work that previewed at ClarFest in 1988 and toured for three years. "Cloud Walking" is a reference to Kopperud's passion for skydiving. She found a way to include even that in her show, which amused and amazed audiences with her very special combination of musical and athletic abilities.

Currently Ms. Kopperud is a tenured Professor of Music at the University at Buffalo. (Formerly on the New York University and Columbia faculties and 18 years with Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program.)

The Winnipeg Free Press reviewed a past project that Kopperud toured, which might describe her newest adventure called “Rated X” premiered last fall on the West coast. “You can expect to have your head bent a little. You will stay awake. You will be fascinated and infuriated…and exhilarated by what you have heard.” “Rated X” is seven clarinet and piano works written for Kopperud asking composers to dare to stretch the medium. Rated X II for clarinet and percussion premieres in the fall of 2010.

Professor Kopperud and students discuss the performance skills course, "On the Edge."

Jean Kopperud playing clarinet on horseback.