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“Each note is shaped with care and warmth so that Zelnick's full range of color effortlessly shines through.”

           -The Clarinet

“Both as as soloist and orchestral musician, Stephanie Zelnick is a much travelled clarinetist. She enters into Gould’s jazzy world with brio.”

                   -David’s Review Corner

“Polished committed performances of stunning new works”

  -The Clarinet

“Stephanie Zelnick is fabulous in the piece, bringing her considerable all to focus in a most rewarding performance-hopefully one that will inspire other clarinetists to take it up.”

          -Audiophile Audition

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Clarinetist Dr. Stephanie Zelnick enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career as a soloist, orchestral performer, and chamber musician, appearing throughout North America, Asia, South America, and Europe. Performing and teaching in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, Northwestern University, Yale School of Music, among many others, she has received critical acclaim for her "committed and polished performances." A distinguished educator and scholar, she is the Professor of Clarinet at the University of Kansas.


In addition to broadcasts on Performance Today and other NPR affiliates, she has performed and taught extensively throughout Italy, France, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Czech Republic, Spain, Costa Rica, Slovakia, Germany, and most recently at festivals in Brazil, Lithuania, Mexico, Serbia, Romania, Colombia, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. Recent performances and masterclasses include Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, Florida State University, Real Conservatorio Superior de Madrid, the Lithuanian Academy of Music, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, Festival Internacional de Clarinetes Costa Rica, the Academy for the Performing Arts in Prague, the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, and the Dame Myra Hess Series, among others.

She has held principal clarinet positions in Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Central City Opera, Johann Strauss Opera in Vienna, Mississippi Symphony, Prague Opera Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, and Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, and has appeared with various other orchestras including Colorado Symphony, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, and Tucson Symphony. Dr. Zelnick has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras, championing classic repertoire as well as vibrant new works. 


She is the recipient of awards from Privrednik (Serbia’s leading humanitarian organization), the Fulbright Commission, the Lithuanian Council on Arts and Science, and American embassies around the world. She received the University of Kansas School of Music Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award and is a KU Honors Faculty Fellow. 


Dr. Zelnick’s recordings can be heard on the Innova, Accademia del Clarinetto, and Naxos labels, among others. She has also released two solo albums, Diaspora and Diversions: the Midcentury Clarinet, and a chamber album entitled AdZel. Of her recordings, The Clarinet praises her "crystal clear tone and beautifully shaped phrases.” Her most recent project Wind and Bow, recorded with members of the Kansas City Symphony, features rarely recorded works for clarinet and string quartet. She was also recently featured on the Brazilian album Choro Joiado.

With Mariam Adam, she is a founder of the AdZel Duo, a group that is establishing cultural dialogues through music. The ensemble has commissioned and recorded works by contemporary composers and created concerts with writers that incorporate spoken word and music. Their album entitled AdZel received praise from The Clarinet for its “compelling unity of sound and excellent ensemble."

Previous faculty positions include the University of Wyoming and the University of Northern Colorado. She has appeared at numerous International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests as an invited artist and headliner at other festivals and conferences. Dr. Zelnick has served on the International Clarinet Association DEIB committee, the artistic committees of the 2008 and 2016 ClarinetFests, and has hosted the latter event at the University of Kansas. She has been a faculty member at the Chautauqua Institution, LA Philharmonic YOLA National, Sunflower Music Festival, the Wyoming Festival, and the Rocky Ridge Music Festival. 

Dr. Zelnick enjoys pushing the boundaries of clarinet through her scholarship and research projects. She has published featured articles in The Clarinet including “The High Altitude Clarinetist” and "Notable Women Clarinetists Born Before 1950." Her presentation with Dr. Anne Piirainen entitled "Obstacles and Open Doors: Female Clarinet Pioneers in the Mid 20th Century" was recently featured at the University of the Arts in Helsinki and at the Hall Center for the Humanities. Upcoming engagements include the University of Michigan, University of Costa Rica, the Gender and Musicianship Conference in Helsinki, and the Women's Work in Music Conference at Bangor University in Wales.


Drawing on her experience as a triathlete, ultramarathoner, and a mountain guide on Colorado's 14ers, Dr. Zelnick is currently writing a book on air support and physical conditioning for optimal performance and health in classical musicians, a project that was recently featured on 9 News Denver. Dr. Zelnick is a member of Summit Musicians, a group that is challenging the norms of classical music by playing concerts on the highest peaks in the region, highlighting works by new composers and the intersection of music and nature. They recently performed in Colorado at the summits of Mt. Bierstadt at 14,065 feet and Mt. Audubon at 13,229 feet above sea level.


She has worked with some of the freshest composers in contemporary music to create new classics for the clarinet, recording in evocative and unconventional settings as an artist in resident at the University of Wyoming National Park Service field station in the Grand Tetons, UCross, and Volland. She is a member of the National Peer Review Committee for the J. William Fulbright Committee and was a Fulbright Grant recipient in the Czech Republic. Dr. Zelnick is a Buffet Crampon Artist and Clinician and plays on Buffet Crampon R-13 clarinets.

"Stephanie Zelnick had just the the right balance of penetration and mysterious quiet."

                 -Boulder Daily Camera

“The meandering and casual cool that Zelnick achieves evokes the mood and feeling of a street café in France. Her dramatic flair is especially compelling in the sultry swing of the third movement and sparkling technique in the fourth movement."

  -The Clarinet

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