Ricardo Morales is one of the most sought-after clarinetists of today. He joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal clarinet in 2003. Previously, he was principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a position he assumed at the age of 21. His virtuosity and artistry as a soloist and as a chamber and orchestral musician have been hailed and recognized in concert halls around the world. He’s been asked to perform as principal clarinet with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and, at the invitation of Sir Simon Rattle, he performed as guest principal clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic. He also performs as principal clarinet with the Saito Kinen Orchestra and the Mito Chamber Orchestra at the invitation of Maestro Seiji Ozawa.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mr. Morales began his studies at the Escuela Libre de Música alongside his five siblings, who are all distinguished musicians. He continued his studies at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Indiana University, where he received his artist diploma. Mr. Morales has been a featured soloist with many orchestras, including the Chicago, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras and the Metropolitan Opera, Flemish Radio, and Seoul Philharmonic orchestras. During his tenure with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, he soloed at Carnegie Hall and on two European tours. He made his solo debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2004, and since then he’s performed as a soloist with the orchestra on numerous occasions, including in the world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto, which the orchestra commissioned for him.
An active chamber musician, Mr. Morales has performed on the Met Chamber Ensemble series at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall; at the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival and the Saratoga and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals; with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and on NBC’s The Today Show. He’s performed with many distinguished ensembles, such as the Juilliard and Leipzig String Quartets, the Pacifica and Miró Quartets, and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. He’s also collaborated with Christoph Eschenbach, André Watts, Emanuel Ax, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, James Ehnes, Gil Shaham, and Kathleen Battle. Mr. Morales is highly sought after for his recitals and master classes, which have taken him throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and he currently serves on the faculty of Temple University.
Mr. Morales’s performances have been met with critical acclaim. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised his appointment to The Philadelphia Orchestra, stating that it “may represent the most salutary personnel event of the orchestra’s last decade.” The New York Times hailed him for having “fleet technique, utterly natural musical grace, and the lyricism and breath control of a fine opera singer.” The New York Times also singled out Mr. Morales in their review of The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, describing his playing as “exquisite” and declaring that he “deserved a place onstage during curtain calls.”
Mr. Morales’s debut solo recording, French Portraits, is available on the Boston Records label. His recent recordings include performances with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio; the Pacifica Quartet, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award; and, for Decca Records, the Mito Chamber Orchestra, playing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.
Ricardo Morales is a sought-after consultant and designer of musical instruments and accessories, and he enjoys a musical partnership with F. Arthur Uebel, a world-renowned manufacturer of artist level clarinets.