Since winning the Royal Overseas League Music Competition in London in 1992, clarinettist Robert Plane has enjoyed a successful and varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral principal. He has become particularly well-known for his bestselling Naxos recording of Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto (Naxos 8.553566), which is frequently broadcast and won ‘Best Concerto Recording’ in the Classic CD Awards in 2000 as well as an Editor’s Choice recommendation in Gramophone and a BBC Radio 3 ‘Building a Library’ top recommendation. He made his Swiss début in 2004, performing Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra in the prestigious Tonhalle. He has appeared in a number of major European and British musical centres, including frequent concerto appearances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with which he is principal clarinet.
Robert Plane made his London recital début with pianist Sophia Rahman in 1993 in the Park Lane Group’s ‘New Year Series’ at the Purcell Room. Together with viola player Philip Dukes they formed the Plane Dukes Rahman Trio in 1992. Both duo and trio still enjoy a fulfilling schedule of recordings and concerts. As a chamber musician he has played at many of the major British halls including the Wigmore, Bridgewater, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, and St George’s, Bristol. Overseas chamber tours have taken him to North and South America, South Korea and Taiwan and much of Europe, including Germany, France, the Republic of Ireland, Malta, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man performing at festivals from Cheltenham, Spitalfields and Belfast to Hambachermusikfest and Tanglewood.
Before joining the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as principal clarinet in 1999, Robert Plane was principal clarinet with the Northern Sinfonia. As a guest principal he has played with the London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestras and with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He teaches clarinet at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Plane Dukes Rahman Trio are artists-in-residence at Queen’s University, Belfast, making four visits a year to give concerts, workshops and lectures.
He is clarinettist of the septet Mobius with whom he has recorded Weber’s Clarinet Quintet and Françaix’s Clarinet Quintet. His large discography also includes James MacMillan’s Clarinet Quintet ‘Tuireadh’ for BIS and the complete clarinet works of Herbert Howells and Sir Arnold Bax, the latter including world première recordings of his early Clarinet Sonata in E and the Trio in One Movement for clarinet, violin and piano (Naxos 8.557968). Recordings of Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto and Debussy’s Première Rapsodie have featured on the cover disc of the BBC Music Magazine. He has collaborated with many other ensembles, including the Vellinger, Emperor, Mandelring, Auer and Kreutzer Quartets, the Leopold String Trio and the chamber ensemble of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. He particularly enjoys performing with the Gould Piano Trio and together they established their own annual chamber music festival in the picturesque country town of Corbridge in Northumberland in 1999.