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Michael Drapkin

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Michael Drapkin


Michael Drapkin (b. 1957, Hollywood, Calif.) is an American composer, arranger, clarinetist, educator, manager, arranger, speaker, author, and entrepreneur.

Drapkin is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Stanley Hasty, toured Japan with the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Donald Hunsberger, and played principal clarinet in the Eastman Philharmonia under David Effron. He also studied clarinet with Gary Gray, Charles Bay and Harold Wright; klezmer with Sid Beckerman. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate/researcher at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands where he is working remotely on his dissertation Restructuring Classical Music.

As a clarinetist, he was a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, as associate principal and bass clarinet, New York City Opera Touring Company as principal clarinet and Lake George Opera Festival (now Opera Saratoga) as principal clarinet. He currently holds the position of principal clarinet and composer-in-residence with the Texas Chamber Symphony, and bass clarinet with the Mid-Texas Symphony. He has also been concertmaster of five community concert bands.

Drapkin founded and presented the Brevard Conference on Music Entrepreneurship for two summers at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. He has delivered keynote speeches, lectures and master classes across the U.S. including Eastman, Juilliard, Northwestern and the California Institute for the Arts. Drapkin served as a member of the Board of directors of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. Drapkin developed his own band Yiddish Cowboys in Austin, Texas. He featured them in the Classical Crossover showcase he ran for South by Southwest in 2010 and 2011, where he brought bands from around the world that are classically trained and have crossed over to the mainstream and brought their virtuosity with them.

In addition to Drapkin’s seminal books for the bass clarinet, he has been a prolific composer/arranger. His Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies for concert band was premiered by the wind ensemble at the North Carolina School of the Arts, his John Dowland Suite for Band was premiered by the Manhattan Wind Ensemble, his Gershwin – Walking the Dog for clarinet and band was premiered by the Rockland County Concert Band, The Rabbi Chaplain’s March was premiered by the Navy Band of the West and has soloed his Tempest Hora with numerous bands. He also recently completed his Der Rosenkavalier Suite for Band, Three Tallis Songs for Band and My Resting Place based on an old Yiddish song.

Works for Winds