John Bruce Yeh

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John Bruce Yeh (born 1957) is an American clarinetist. He has been the assistant principal clarinetist and E-flat clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1977. Yeh is the founder and director of the chamber ensemble, Chicago Pro Musica, whose first recording, Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat, won the 1985 Grammy Award for the Best New Classical Artist.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Washington DC, Yeh grew up in Los Angeles, California and began playing the clarinet at age 6. Both his parents were scientists but had trained as musicians in China, his mother as a pianist and his father as a singer. He initially studied as a pre-med student at UCLA but also played in local chamber music ensembles and youth symphonies. After two years at UCLA, he transferred to the Juilliard School in New York City. In 1977, Georg Solti hired him as a clarinetist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He started as solo bass clarinetist and two years later was appointed assistant principal and E-flat clarinetist.[1][2]

While in New York Yeh became a founding member of the New York New Music Ensemble and retained an interest in contemporary music throughout his career.[2] In 1979 he founded the chamber ensemble, Chicago Pro Musica and remains its director. The ensemble's first recording, Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat, won the 1985 Grammy Award for the Best New Classical Artist.[3][4] He has also collaborated with composer and electronic musician Howard Sandroff, performing and recording Pierre Boulez's 1985 work for clarinet and electronics, Dialogue de l'ombre double.[5]

Yeh is married to the clarinetist Teresa Reilly. The couple have three daughters.[6] Yeh, Reilly, and their daughter Molly, a percussionist, perform together on the album Synergy released by Naxos Records in the Naxos Wind Band Classics series.[7]


Yeh's recordings include:

  • Stravinsky: L'Histoire du soldat (also includes works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Walton, Hasenohrl, and Nielsen) – Chicago Pro Musica: George Vosburgh (cornet, trumpet); Daniel Gingrich (horn); Jay Friedman (trombone); Richard Graef (flute); John Bruce Yeh (clarinet) ; Willard Elliot, (bassoon); Albert Igolnikov (violin); Donald Moline (cello); Joseph Guasgafeste (bass); Easley Blackwood (piano); Donald Koss percussion). Label: Reference Recordings[8]
  • Hindemith: Clarinet Chamber Music – John Bruce Yeh (clarinet), Easley Blackwood (piano), Amelia Piano Trio. Label: Cedille Records[9]
  • Boulez: Dialogues With My Shadow (also includes works by Sandroff, Donald Martino, and Rami Levin) – John Bruce Yeh (clarinet), Howard Sandroff (computer). Label: Koch International Classics[10]
  • Synergy (works by Daugherty, Burritt, Gillingham, David, and McAllister) – John Bruce Yeh (clarinet), Teresa Reilly (clarinet), Molly Yeh (percussionist), Columbus State University Wind Ensemble. Label: Naxos Records[7]


  1. ^ Delacoma, Wynne (10 October 1993). "A CSO Clarinetist Gets A Balanced Musical Diet". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 9 February 2017 (subscription required).
  2. ^ a b Lebovitz, Carl (29 September 1988). Chicago Symphony's John Bruce Yeh to Perform". Mattoon Journal Gazette, p. 19. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  3. ^ Past Winners: 1985. Retrieved 9 February 2017
  4. ^ Delacoma, Wynne (10 October 1993). "How Honor Translates Into Sales for Classical Artists". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 9 February 2017 (subscription required).
  5. ^ Bernheimer, Martin (2 June 1992). "Boulez Orgy Ends Happily". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  6. ^ Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Profile: John Bruce Yeh. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b Grames, Ronald E. (May 2010). "Review: Synergy". Fanfare. Retrieved 9 February 2017 (subscription required).
  8. ^ Von Rhein, John (9 May 1986). "Recording review: Stravinsky: L'Histoire du soldat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  9. ^ Anderson, Rick (June 2004). "Recording review: Hindemith: Clarinet Chamber Music". Notes. Retrieved 9 February 2017 (subscription required).
  10. ^ Von Rhein, John (11 October 1998). "Recording review: Dialogues With My Shadow". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 February 2017.

External links[edit]