What made you choose the clarinet, and how did it feel when you played it for the first time?
When I was two years old, I announced to my mom that I would play the clarinet because my name was Clara. And, my mother's great-grandfather was a professional clarinetist in Belarus. I also love that you can play Klezmer music. When I played the clarinet for the first time I felt proud and confident.
Who have been your musical inspirations?
My great-grandfather and the clarinetists in the New York Philharmonic that I’ve heard play during Young People’s Concerts there.
How often do you practice?
I want to get better, so I practice every day.
It sounds like you love the clarinet! Is there anything about it that you don’t like?
My least favorite thing is putting my instrument away in its case because sometimes I want to go play or do something else, but first I have to clean my instrument and carefully put it away in its case.
What have been your greatest challenges in your musical journey? What has kept you going?
My greatest challenges have been learning how to tongue and keeping the instrument in the middle of my body. I keep going because I really like playing the clarinet and making music. I wouldn’t take no for an answer when some people said that I couldn’t begin learning to play the clarinet when I was seven because I was too young – thank goodness for my teacher Katherine Cooke, who said it was possible and helped me find my Kinder Klari. It’s like a Eb clarinet for kids whose hands aren’t big enough for a Bb clarinet.
What is the most fun thing you've done with music and what do you hope to do when you’re older?
Learning how to play grace notes and trills and playing Mozart and Haydn has been my favorite part. Someday, I hope to play the Mozart clarinet concerto (not just the theme!) and play in an orchestra.
What do you like to do other than play the clarinet?
I really like science and animals.