For the past twenty-five years Eric Hoeprich has specialized in performing on the historical clarinet. His expertise as a musician, scholar and instrument maker allows for a unique approach to the solo clarinet repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries.
As a founding member and principal clarinet of Frans Brüggen’s Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Hoeprich has performed frequently as a soloist with this orchestra, as well as with many of the major early music ensembles in Europe, the United States and Australia under conductors such as Nicholas McGegan, Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, Philippe Herreweghe, Michael Willens and Jos van Immerseel. With Frans Brüggen’s orchestra Hoeprich has recorded the basset clarinet version of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto for Glossa.
The Baltimore-born Hoeprich’s activities as a chamber musician also take him around the world, both with his wind ensembles Nachtmusique and Stadler Trio, and as a guest with numerous string quartets and pianists. For a recent recording on Glossa of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet (again playing the basset clarinet) coupled with the Brahms Quintet, he was joined by the London Haydn Quartet (with the quartet using gut strings and classical bows). The Harmoniemusik ensemble Nachtmusique and the Stadler Trio (three basset horns) were both founded in the 1980s and with the former Hoeprich has recorded music by Mozart, Beethoven and Franz Krommer.
As a scholar, Hoeprich has been contracted by Yale University Press to write a comprehensive book on the clarinet as part of a new series on the instruments of the orchestra. He is on the faculties of the Conservatoire National Supèrieur de Musique de Paris, the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague and at Indiana University, Bloomington. He published articles in several journals such as Early Music, Galpin Society Journal, The Clarinet, Tibia and Scherzo.
His interest in the early clarinet has led Hoeprich to amass a large collection of 18th and 19th century clarinets. Of particular interest is a clarinet made by the same maker that built the instrument played by Heinrich Bärmann, the clarinettist for whom Weber composed all his great works. He also owns what is credibly the oldest surviving French clarinet, made in the 1770s by Prudent in Paris. Additionally he has clarinets by Georg Ottensteiner whose instruments were played by Richard Mühlfeld for whom Brahms wrote all his chamber works for clarinet, and a reproduction of Anton Stadler’s basset clarinet which Hoeprich made himself based on an engraving from a program in Riga where Stadler performed the Mozart clarinet concerto in 1794.