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"He is an excellent clarinetist and a fine musician, one who plays with both technical command of the instrument and an engaging musical personality."
Alfred Prinz

These words of praise from the first clarinetist of the Vienna Philharmonic were spoken of Nicolai Pfeffer as he was still a student. Born in the German town of Fulda, he took lessons from Sharon Kam while still in grammar school. He received formative impulses in Fulda from the clarinetist Bruce Edwards and the Bamberg instrument makers, Werner Schwenk and Jochen Seggelke, whose instruments he continues to play today. In 2004 he enrolled at Cologne University of Music and Dance, majoring in clarinet. There he joined the master class of Professor Ralph Manno, receiving his performance degree in 2009 and his Master of Music in solo and chamber music with honors in 2011.
Nicolai Pfeffer then did postgraduate work at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he studied with Professor Howard Klug, and perfected his studies in international master classes and chamber music courses. He was also encouraged by such preeminent artists as Sabine Meyer (Lübeck), Anthony Spiri (Cologne), Karl Leister (Berlin), Alfred Prinz (Vienna), Sir Alan Hacker (London).

Nicolai Pfeffer has received many prizes, scholarships, and grants, including awards from the Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation (Hamburg), the Xiao Yi Association, the Horst and Gretl Will Foundation, and the international Richard Wagner Scholarship Foundation. From 2010-2013 he held a fellowship from Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now and during this time he was also appointed artistic director of the Papageno School of Music. He gathered experience in orchestra playing at the Cologne Opera, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Bamberg Symphony. As a special mark of distinction, he gave the world premiere of two cadenzas composed by Professor Andreas N. Tarkmann for Carl Maria von Weber’s F minor Clarinet Concerto (2012).

Both as a soloist and as a dedicated chamber musician, Nicolai Pfeffer has already given guest performances at many major festivals throughout Europe the United States, South America and the Middle East. The same passion that instills his playing also inspires his musicological research and his teaching activities: he is an instructor in high demand at the Grünwald School of Music (Munich) as well as a clarinet faculty member of the prestigious Cologne Hochschule für Musik. He has held masterclasses and lectures at many universities and conservatories, including the Universities in Cologne, Frankfurt, Michigan-Dearborn, and Troy University (Alabama, USA).

In addition to his artistic activities, Nicolai Pfeffer is involved with great commitment in new scholarly editions of chamber music and solo pieces for his instrument. The fruits of these labors are manifest in the highly acclaimed critical editions he has published with Edition Peters (Max Bruch’s clarinet compositions opp. 83 and 88), G. Henle, and Breitkopf & Härtel. He also writes for the international trade journals “The Clarinet” and “Rohrblatt.”

Rounding off his wide-ranging activities are educational projects like Lars Vogt’s “Rhapsody in School” as well as radio and television broadcasts for Germany’s ARD public broadcasting system, West German Broadcasting (WDR), and Hessian Broadcasting (HR).

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