Elsa Ludewig Verdehr University Distinguished Professor of Clarinet


  • Woodwinds

201 Music Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 355-7646

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Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, University Distinguished Professor, is a renowned clarinetist and teacher whose students occupy numerous major university, college and orchestral positions throughout the U.S. and abroad. She has performed, lectured, and given master classes in over 100 national and international clarinet congresses and for several years was a participant in the Marlboro Music Festivals and touring groups. She has appeared frequently in the United States and abroad as a recitalist, clinician, and soloist with orchestras and was principal clarinetist of the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra for 24 summers. As a member of MSU’s Richards Wind Quintet she toured throughout the US and Canada, also appearing at the White House, and recorded for Musical Heritage and Crystal Records. 

A member of the Verdehr Trio (verdehr.com) for 43 years, Professor Verdehr performed in every U.S. state and in 59 countries: over 20 European countries and Great Britain, as well as in China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Iceland, Canada, Australia, Mexico and seven countries in South and Central America. She has appeared in many major concert halls: the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, New York's Tully, Weill and Merkin Halls, Vienna's Brahms-Saal, Sydney Opera House, Prague’s Dvorak Hall and London's Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room among others. The Trio also performed with numerous orchestras such as the Honolulu Symphony, the Tonkunstler Orchestra, Spanish National Symphony, Taipei Symphony, and others in the U.S., Europe, Korea and Australia.

Paramount among the activities of the Trio, with much assistance from MSU, was a commissioning project resulting in over 225 original works for the violin-clarinet-piano combination written for the Trio by American and international composers, including 8 Pulitzer Prize winning composers.  Many of these works are recorded on 28 CDs in the Trio’s Making of a Medium Series on Crystal Records.  In addition 20 of the composers are also presented on the Making of a Medium DVD series which includes interviews with each composer as well as a performance of the commissioned work.

Professor Verdehr, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory (BM and BMusEd) and the Eastman School of Music (MM and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees), has produced nearly 40 CDs and DVDs, largely with the Verdehr Trio, as well as solo recordings on the Grenadilla and Mark labels. She has been heard on NPR, ABC Australia, Austrian National Radio, Sudwest Rundfunk, Singapore and Hongkong Radio and Icelandic Radio. Her playing has been called “distinguished and musical” by the New York Times; the Chicago Tribune wrote of her “virtuosity of a most compelling sort,” and the Boston Globe noted her “musical tone and elegant sense of phrasing.” She was awarded honorary membership and the lifetime achievement award from the International Clarinet Society for her “lifetime achievements as a performer and teacher.”

The Verdehr Trio

The Verdehr Trio has performed throughout the world: in 19 European countries, in the former Soviet Union, in South and Central America, and in Asia, Australia, and all 50 of the United States. An acknowledged leader in the field of new music, the Verdehr Trio has, for nearly 40 years, concentrated on molding and defining the personality of the violin-clarinet-piano trio, creating a large repertoire by commissioning more than 200 new works from some of the world's most prominent and exciting composers -- known and unknown, young and old, from this country and abroad. Among the major concert halls where the Trio has appeared are the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Library of Congress, New York's Tully Hall, Vienna's Brahmssaal, the Sydney Opera House, London's Wigmore Hall, Auditorio de Madrid, Dvorak Hall in Prague, the IRCAM Centre in Paris, and Leningrad's Philharmonic Chamber Hall. The Trio has also played at various international festivals, including the Spoleto Festival, Prague Spring Festival, the Vienna Spring Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, and the Grand Teton Music Festival. The Trio has received a Creative Programming Award from Chamber Music America. For more information about the Verdehr Trio, please visit its website.

CD Recordings by The Verdehr Trio   
"The Making of a Medium"  -- Crystal Records

  • Vol.  1:  Works of Mozart, Hovhaness, Frescobaldi, Pasatieri and Bartok (CD 741)
  • Vol.  2:  Works of Vanhal, Rorem, David, Musgrave, and Liszt (CD 742)
  • Vol.  3:  Works of Averitt, Currier, and Schuller (CD 743)
  • Vol.  4:  Works of Husa, Freund, Niblock, and Dickinson (CD 744)
  • Vol.  5:  Works of Arutiunian, Schickele, and Sculthorpe (CD 745)
  • Vol.  6:  Works of Diamond, Corigliano, and Sculthorpe (CD 746)
  • Vol.  7:  Works of James Niblock written for the Verdehr Trio (CD 747)
  • Vol.  8:  Triple Concertos of Skrowaczewski, Sarasate-David, and David: Sinfonia Concertante (CD 748)
  • Vol.  9:  Triple Concertos of David Ott and William Wallace (CD 749)
  • Vol. 10:  Works of Beethoven, Bruch, Larsen, Tschaikovsky, Druckman and Bolcom (CD 940)
  • Vol. 11:  Works of Gian Carlo Menotti, Constantinides, Bruch, and Deak (CD 941)
  • Vol. 12:  American Images I:  Works of Chihara, Diamond, Satterwhite, Biggs, Erb, and Kramer (CD 942)
  • Vol. 13:  American Images II:  Works of Tower, S. Currier, Biggs, Brohn, Hoag, and Welcher (CD 943)        
  • Vol. 14:  Austrian Music:  Works of von Einem, Erod, and David (CD 944)
  • Vol. 15:  Double Concertos for Violin and Clarinet by Wallace, Chihara, NIblock, and Constantinides (CD 945)
  • Vol. 16:  International I:  Works of Chatman, Higdon, Rihm, Sheng, and Wolfgang (CD 946)
  • Vol. 17:  American Images III: The Michigan Connection: Works of Smith, Ruggiero, Liptak, Black/Bolcom, Mann, and Hartway (CD 947)
  • Vol. 18:  Music from Down Under:  Works of Sculthorpe, Mills, Conyngham, Knehans, and Marshall
  • Vol. 19: American Images IV:  Works of Brouwer, Wallace, Hoiby, Puts, and Thomas
  • Vol. 20: American Images IV:  Works of Sierra, Lorenz, Wolfgang, Sowash, and Freund

Other Recordings by the Verdehr Trio

  • LP:  Works by Jere Hutcheson and Thomas Christian David, Crystal Records (S644)
  • LP:  Works by Joseph Haydn and Karel Husa, Crystal Records (S648)
  • LP:  Works by Don Freund and Thomas Christian David (duo), Leonarda Records (LP 1 122 Stereo)
  • LP:  Triple Concerto: Thomas Christian David, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Amadeo (423-733-1)
  • CD: Works by Bassett, Bruch, Hoag, and Hoover, Leonarda Records (LE 326)
  • CD: Works by Ida Gotkovsky, Musique de Chambre, Corélia (CC 890680)
  • CD: Music from France: Works of Blasius, Jolas, Manoury, Milhaud, Poulenc, and Saint-Saens, Dux (0525)  

DVD Series

I. "Making of a Medium" Video Series 

  • Part I: Composers Karel Husa, Gunther Schuller, Leslie Bassett, Ned Rorem, Alan Hovhaness, and Thea Musgrave, hosted by Martin Bookspan
  • Part II: Composers Gian Carlo Menotti, Joan Tower, and Libby Larsen, hosted by Peter Schickele      

II. "Composers" Series 

  • 1.  Composers Robert Mann and David Diamond, hosted by Walter Verdehr
  • 2.  Composers Peter Schickele and James Niblock, hosted by Walter Verdehr
  • 3.  Composer Peter Sculthorpe, hosted by Walter Verdehr
  • 4.  Betsy Jolas and Philippe Manoury, hosted by Walter Verdehr

All DVDs contain interviews with the composer and a performance of their works written for and performed by the Verdehr Trio.