Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinettists, excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer. He has inspired a generation of young players as creator of his Conn-Selmer range of affordable clarinets under the Leblanc brand and introduced a substantial new audience to his instrument. Julian started playing the clarinet aged four, going on to study in the United States at the University of Indiana and in Germany under Sabine Meyer, turning professional aged just twelve.
In recital and chamber music he has played at most of the world’s leading festivals and series, including Gstaad, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Verbier, Wigmore Hall (London) and Lincoln Center (New York). As a soloist, he has appeared with a wide range of international orchestras, including the Sao Paolo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Paris, Auckland Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras.
In 2010 he established the Julian Bliss Septet creating programmes inspired by the King of Swing, Benny Goodman; Hooray for Hollywood! and a show built around the extraordinary musical output of George Gershwin. A recording of the Gershwin programme “I got rhythm” released in 2021 received rave reviews – “impressive recording by talented clarinettist Julian Bliss and his excellent Septet .. Bliss’s quick-fire clarinet starts weaving free-flowing improvisational lines around the tune from the very outset .. jaw-dropping, side-stepping vibes solo .. the whole ensemble is on fire” – Gramophone. The Septet has performed to packed houses across the US and in European festivals, at Ronnie Scott’s (London) and Live from Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York).
Excellent reviews, record of the week spots and media attention flow from his recording output. In 2021, releases on Signum Records include Brahms Clarinet Sonatas with pianist James Baillieu and an EP of Julian’s arrangements for clarinet of wind ensemble works by legends of the US band world John Mackey, Frank Ticheli and Eric Whitacre. Other recent albums include Mozart and Weber Quintets with the Carducci String Quartet; Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock with Ailish Tynan (soprano) and Christopher Glynn (piano); Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint; Mozart and Nielsen’s Clarinet Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
With the launch of Bliss Music in 2020, Julian’s arrangements of a selection of pieces for clarinet and piano have been made available as sheet music. These include Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata Op. 19, the third movement of which has been set as a grade 6 piece on the new London College of Music clarinet syllabus.