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Robert Plane

Job Role: Head of Woodwind Performance

Department: Woodwind

Honours: BA (Hons), MMus (London), Dip.RAM, FRAM, ARAM, LRAM

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Before taking up the position of Head of Woodwind Performance at RWCMD in September 2020 Robert Plane held the principal clarinet positions of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. Alongside this new role he leads a distinguished international career as a solo, chamber, recording artist and festival director. Rob is clarinetist of Ensemble 360.


Rob has performed concertos in major concert halls across Europe, from London’s Barbican and a Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, to the Tonhalle Zurich, Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid and the Konzerthaus Dortmund. Exploring the clarinet quintet repertoire with several of the finest string quartets, he opened BBC Radio 3’s Brahms Experience with a live broadcast from St. George’s Bristol of the Brahms Quintet with the Skampa Quartet and performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall with the Elias Quartet. His recording of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with the Gould Piano Trio was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as the ‘finest modern recording’ of this epic masterpiece.

Rob has tirelessly pursued a particular passion for British clarinet music in concert and on disc, his Gramophone Award winning account of Finzi’s Concerto and Gramophone Award-shortlisted Bax Sonatas being just two of a large collection of recordings of works by the great English Romantics. His latest album on the Champs Hill Records label, Reawakened, brings clarinet concertos by Iain Hamilton, Ruth Gipps and Richard Walthew back to life with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins.

Notable Achievements

Rob was solo clarinetist for the Disney film Maleficent, at the personal request of the score’s composer James Newton Howard.

Rob has recorded over 30 solo CD recordings, ranging from classics of the repertoire (Weber Clarinet Quintet, Brahms and Beethoven Trios) to rarities of the British repertoire, reviving works by Robin Milford, Joseph Holbrooke and Pamela Harrison. He has commissioned concertos from Diana Burrell, Piers Hellawell and Mark David Boden, which he has recorded with the BBC Philharmonic, and recently gave the world premiere of Judith Bingham’s clarinet concerto with the London Mozart Players. Alongside the Gould Piano Trio, Rob has been Artistic Director of the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival since 1999. As guest principal clarinetist Rob has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Concertgebouw Orchestra and all of London’s symphony orchestras.

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