Robert Plane won the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition in London in 1992 and has since enjoyed a career encompassing solo and chamber work, as well as holding the principal clarinet positions of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia and, since 1999, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
He is a successful recording artist and is particularly highly regarded for his solo recordings for Naxos. His account of Finzi's Clarinet Concerto won Classic CD Magazine's 'Best Concerto Recording' Award and was selected as BBC Radio 3's recommended version in 'Building a Library'. Gramophone Magazine described ‘a highly accomplished, indeed commanding performance of Finzi’s gorgeous Clarinet Concerto from Robert Plane. With his bright, singing tone and effortless technical mastery, Plane leaves a stylish impression’ in selecting it as ‘Editor’s Choice’. His recording of Bax Sonatas was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award. Gramophone has hailed recordings of 'ravishing lyricism and conviction by Robert Plane, who has surely now fully occupied the shoes of the late Thea King in his championship of British clarinet music.' He has been equally successful in classic repertoire, having recorded Weber's Clarinet Quintet for EMI, Brahms Clarinet Trio for Quartz and Messiaen's 'Quartet for the End of Time' for Chandos, praised by BBC Music Magazine as the 'best modern account' of this monumental work. Future releases include the clarinet works of Josef Holbrooke and York Bowen as well as Beethoven’s two clarinet trios, which were recorded ‘live’ at St. George’s Bristol as part of the Gould Piano Trio’s Beethoven cycle, for Somm Records.
He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the UK and overseas; Mozart with the City of London Sinfonia in Madrid, Finzi with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra in the Zurich Tonhalle, Copland with the Malta Philharmonic in Valletta and Stanford with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Robert made his debut in Germany in 2011, performing Christian Jost's clarinet concerto 'Heart of Darkness' with the Dortmund Philharmonic, and in Ireland, performing Piers Hellawell's 'Agricolas' with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin. He gave the world premiere performance of Simon Holt's double concerto 'Centauromachy' in St.David's Hall, Cardiff and played Diana Burrell's Clarinet Concerto, a work written for and premiered by him, at the Barbican, Huddersfield Festival and with the Ulster Orchestra for BBC Radio 3. He made his BBC Proms solo debut in 2011 in Holt’s ‘Centauromachy’ and his US concerto debut with the Virginia Symphony in 2013.
Robert has toured China as soloist with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, including a performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, broadcast live to a TV audience of 6 million.
Robert’s chamber music collaborations have included quintets with a number of leading string quartets (Maggini, Auer, Brodsky, Dante, Mandelring, Vellinger, Carducci, Cavaleri, Tippett) and he enjoys a close relationship with the Gould Piano Trio. Together they direct the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival in Northumberland. He has also appeared as a guest with the chamber ensemble of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and with the Ibis Ensemble in Trinidad. He has collaborated with the pianist Sophia Rahman for nearly 20 years and highlights of their concerts together include tours to South America, New Zealand and China.
As a guest principal clarinet he has played with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Robert is frequently invited to give masterclasses at major conservatoires including the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, the conservatoires in Beijing, Xi An and Guangzhou in China and at the San Francisco Conservatory. He held an eight year long post of Artist-in-Residence at Queen’s University, Belfast and teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Robert is married to the violinist Lucy Gould and lives in Cardiff with their three children, Florence, Rufus and Iris.
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