Professional Classical Players Who Improvise

This list is incomplete and is only intended as a springboard for your own research. These are artists who are primarily classical musicians (or who teach primarily classical musicians) and are generally not “crossover” artists. The artists are listed in alphabetical order. Please send corrections or additions to Dr. Foulk.

WOODWINDS


flute

clarinet

oboe

saxophone

bassoon


BRASS


trumpet
horn
  • Jeff Agrell, University of Iowa.
  • Lydia Lowery-Busler, based in Montpelier, Vermont.
  • Dan Grabois, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Leslie Hart, based in San Francisco, California (her dissertation describes a curriculum for using improvisation in a collegiate horn studio)
  • Pamela Marshall, based in Lexington, Massachusetts. See her article “Free Improvisation and the Horn”.
  • Dan Spencer, based in Memphis, Tennessee (his dissertation is titled, A Creative And Aural Method To Teach Improvisation As A Supplement To Horn Pedagogy For Applied Lesson Instructors)
  • Arkady Shilkloper, based in Berlin, Germany, recordings widely available on youtube (HIGHLY recommended)

trombone

tuba

STRINGS


violin


viola

cello

double bass

piano

harp

PERCUSSION


  • Carolyn Koebel, based in Kalamazoo, MI.
  • NEXUS percussion ensemble. See member William Cahn’s book called Creative Music Making (page 107 lists recordings of improvisations performed by the ensemble)

VOICE



ENSEMBLES


string quartets

mixed ensembles (student and professional)

historical improvisation ensembles (mostly active in late 1950s through the 1960s; some youtube videos available)
  • Lucas Foss’s Improvisation Chamber Ensemble, Univ. of California
  • ONCE Group, based in Ann Arbor.
  • Scratch Orchestra, based in England (1969-74)
  • Sonic Arts Union

venues

conducted improvisation

silent film accompanists

community/music therapy ensembles

improvisation with computers or electronics