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  • Writer's pictureJoe Gehrke

Jennifer Maggs: Soloist in Sensational Soloists

Jennifer Maggs saw her head teacher at primary school play the clarinet at a school assembly and from that moment, she knew she had found her instrument.


“From that day I was in love with the clarinet. It had such a profound impact on me. I begged my parents to let me learn it. I loved the look of the keys against the black wood. It looked complex and exciting. I was captivated by the fingers moving around on the shiny keys.”

Growing up in England, Jennifer’s childhood clarinet lessons proved not to be a passing fancy. She went on to study at Bath Spa University and graduated with a first-class degree in music, specialising in performance on her clarinet, under the guidance of clarinettist Roger Heaton.


She names Roger Heaton as one of the clarinettists that has inspired her most.


“Roger Heaton’s contemporary clarinet playing and collaborations with new composers has pushed the clarinet to new limits,” she says. “He has found new ways of playing and creating sounds unique to the clarinet. I also really enjoy listening to Benny Goodman and his cross over jazz and classical playing. I enjoy playing contemporary music myself, what is sometimes referred to as “Minimalist Music”, things written for solo clarinet that challenge the clarinet or the performer.”


After her undergraduate studies, Jennifer went on to earn a Masters Degree in Performance at the London College of Music and Media, where she received instruction from clarinettist David Campbell, who has been referred to as “the greatest clarinettist of his generation”.


It was during her university days that Jennifer said she first really understood the freedom evoked by music making.

“I performed a piece by Aaron Copland for a concert at university and that was the performance when I really experienced the thrill of truly “performing” a piece of music, rather than just playing it. I loved the creative freedom.”


Jennifer built a career in England as a clarinet and saxophone teacher, widely involved with music in schools. She supplemented her music teaching by continuing as a performer, playing with the Brandon Hill Orchestra and New Bristol Symphony in the UK and after her move to Australia, with the Northern Rivers Orchestra in Northern New South Wales. The Northern Rivers Orchestra has been featured on Australian Story.


In 2015 Jennifer moved to the Sunshine Coast where she continues her career and involvement with music education. As well as teaching the clarinet and saxophone, she also directs a range of school ensembles.

Jennifer continues freelance performing on the Coast for a variety of events and is Principal Clarinettist with the Sunshine Coast Symphony Orchestra.


Jennifer is excited to perform the 2nd Movement of Mozart’s popular Clarinet Concerto on July 16.


“I love the conversation I have in my head as I play this piece, the reflective nature, and the interpretation of the emotion. It spans a wide range of the clarinet and shines across the registers. I don’t feel any pressure to play it a particular way, even though it will be recognised by a lot of the audience. Playing as a soloist is rewarding in the sense that the performance is your own creation.”


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