Jessica Phillips, clarinet

Jessica Phillips in a white coat at night standing in front of the fountains at Lincoln Center
photo: Yuki Tei

Clarinetist Jessica Phillips has been a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for the last 18 years. In this episode, she discusses her journey to the MET, concepts behind performing anxiety, the incredible advice given to her along the way, and the exciting life behind the scenes at the MET.

Jessica Phillips, clarinet

Jessica Phillips, 2nd and Eb clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, speaks about her incredible journey to the MET.  We discuss the mental preparation for auditions, the rigorous schedule of an opera orchestra, and the incredible guidance she received on her journey!  

Jessica was appointed Second and E-flat Clarinet of the MET Orchestra in 2001.  She graduated cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, and The Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of Ricardo Morales and David Weber.  She served as Acting Principal Clarinet in the MET Orchestra from 2011-2013 and during the 2003-2004 season.  In 2013, she received the tremendous honor of having her chair at the Metropolitan Opera endowed by Ruth and Harvey Miller.

Jessica Phillips walking with 5 members of a committee, on a red carpet towards a session of labor talks
Ms. Phillips as chair of the orchestra committee, working on labor negotiations.
Photo: Jennifer Johnson

Throughout her freelance career she has worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, American Ballet Theater Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, St. Luke’s Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, at the St. Bart’s Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, Music Festival of the Hamptons, and the Aspen Music Festival.  She served on the faculty of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, in 2012. 

Jessica Phillips posing with clarinet maker, Morrie Backun
With Morrie Backun after a performance at Clarinet Fest

An active chamber musician, Ms. Phillips has performed in Carnegie Hall at Weill Recital Hall with the MET Chamber Ensemble and was invited to perform at the inauguration of Zankel Hall with James Levine.  She has also performed chamber music with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, and with the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, to name a few. 

Ms. Phillips performed as soloist with the Lincoln Symphony at the ClarinetFest ’12 in Nebraska, and has performed in recital and conducted master-classes at the Manhattan School of Music, Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, International Clarinet Association’s Clarinet Fest in Japan and Canada, Lisbon International Clarinet Meeting in Portugal, and at the International Woodwind Festival.

young Jessica Phillips posing with the clarinet, black and white photo

She can be heard on numerous “Live From Lincoln Center” recordings with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, including Principal on the Grammy Award winning recording of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung, on numerous commercial and major motion picture soundtracks, recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as the most recent televised broadcasts with The All Star Orchestra on PBS.

Jessica Phillips and Ricardo Morales posing with teacher David Weber
Jessica Phillips and Ricardo Morales with pedagogue, David Weber.

She currently serves on the Faculty of the Mason Gross School for the Arts at Rutgers University, Columbia University, and at The Juilliard School specializing in E-Flat Clarinet.  Ms. Phillips is a Backun Artist, a Rico Artist, and a BG Artist.

Jessica with Erika Block and Stephanie Means at clarinet day at Rutgers University.
Jessica Phillips in the pit at the MET laughing with Actor Bradley Cooper
Giggling with Bradley Cooper! He was visiting the pit to prepare for his upcoming biopic as Leonard Bernstein.

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