Ashley Hopkins

Ashley Hopkins

Opus Orchestra – Principal Clarinet

I started learning the clarinet when I was 10 years old and have played it ever since. I went to Auckland University where I graduated after three years with a Performance Diploma in Music (Clarinet). I was awarded a Trinity College Diploma (LTCL) on clarinet in 1982.

I learnt from Ken Wilson and Frank Gurr when I was at University and was always in awe of the achievements of these two performers/teachers. They both had different strengths: Ken concentrated on tone and technique, and Frank was very helpful with orchestral playing since he was principal clarinet of the NZSO at the time.

My first solo performance was playing the Mozart clarinet concerto with the then Symphonia of Auckland when I was 15. On leaving University in 1982 I have played in many professional musical groups. I have performed two concertos with the New Plymouth Orchestra and am booked this year – 2012 – to play Weber’s second clarinet concerto with St Matthews Orchestra in Auckland.

I have played in many shows in Auckland’s Mercury, St James, and His Majesties Theatres. I have also played in many overseas touring groups including Michael Crawford and Shirley Bassey (during the two years I played in the Roger Fox Big Band on baritone saxophone). In 2011 I performed as a soloist with Opus in Bruch’s double concerto for clarinet and viola and orchestra.

I currently play in a wind quintet called Vent – www.vent-wind-quintet.co.nz – and perform in concerts every year with this ensemble.

For many years I played with the Auckland Philharmonia both in second and principal clarinet positions. Duties with the orchestra also included playing bass clarinet, Eb clarinet, and soprano (Bolero twice) alto (Vaughan Williams Symphony) and tenor saxophones (Bernstein Mass). I have played a couple of times with the NZSO and toured with them to Palmerston North, Napier, and Wellington playing Pictures at an Exhibition.

I was a founding musician of the Auckland Chamber Orchestra and played principal clarinet with them for many years. I am currently a member of Manukau Symphony Orchestra.

I split my day into practicing the clarinet, teaching clarinet and saxophone, orchestral rehearsals/concerts and IT. I am IT manager for The Corelli School of the Performing Arts in Browns Bay and run my own business: I.T. Concepts Limited. I would love to play music full-time.

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