Julian Bliss
Julian Bliss

Julian Bliss

About Julian Bliss

Clarinetist Julian Bliss is a versatile player who has performed concertos, chamber music with various top players, and jazz with his Julian Bliss Septet. He is also the designer of the Bliss Clarinet, marketed by the Leblanc line of the Conn-Selmer instrument maker.
Bliss was born in St. Albans or Harpenden (the two towns are adjacent) in England's Hertfordshire region in 1989. He was a child prodigy. Bliss' family was not musical, but when he was four, his parents took him to a music shop, and he immediately settled on the clarinet; he was given a Lyons C clarinet made for children. By five, he was already appearing on television, and at six, he was invited to play at Buckingham Palace. He would return there in 2002 for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Bliss was the subject of the three-part television documentary Gifted and has appeared on the Today Show in the U.S. He was trained at the nearby Purcell School for Young Musicians and then moved on to Indiana University in the U.S., where he had already earned an artist's diploma when he was 12 (it was granted when he finished high school). Bliss' teachers included Paul Harris, Howard Klug, and Sabine Meyer, whose guidance he considers crucial. A prize at the 2001 Concerto Soloists Young Artists Competition in Philadelphia helps Bliss' career along, and he has gone on to perform with the Orchestre National de Paris, the Seattle Symphony, and several major British ensembles. His list of chamber music collaborators is long and includes such stars as pianist Hélène Grimaud, violinist Joshua Bell, and cellist Steven Isserlis. Bliss is also an enthusiastic jazz player who, in 2010, founded the Julian Bliss Septet to perform the music of Benny Goodman and others; the group has performed at Wigmore Hall in London, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In 2020, he launched Bliss Music, which publishes clarinet-and-piano arrangements of classical repertory.
Bliss is the designer of the Bliss Clarinet made by the Conn-Selmer firm as part of its Leblanc line. He holds the title of clarinet market developer at the company. The clarinet is made from a special composite that increases its volume range by 20 percent compared to similar synthetic models and includes other technical refinements such as right-hand trill keys that are above the level where condensed water appears in the instrument's holes.
Bliss has a substantial recording catalog that began in 2004 with the recital Music for clarinet and piano, recorded with Julien Quentin. He has recorded mostly for EMI and Signum Classics, issuing an album featuring the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120, on the latter label with pianist James Baillieu in 2021. ~ James Manheim

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