Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Scott Wright


Throughout the history of the clarinet, there have been performers who have inspired composers to write pieces specifically for them. These contributions to clarinet literature have been significant, frequently resulting in an overall shift in the expectations of performers’ abilities, and expanding the range of possibilities for composers. This document first describes the relationships of the following composers and clarinetists, and their resulting impact on clarinet literature: Karl Stamitz and Joseph Beer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anton Stadler, Louis Spohr and Simon Hermstedt, Carl Maria von Weber and Heinrich Baermann, Johannes Brahms and Richard Mühlfeld, and the numerous commissions of Benny Goodman by some of the most highly-regarded composers of his time.

The main purpose of this document is to examine a contemporary clarinetist who has contributed considerably to the repertoire of the clarinet both through his virtuosic performances and his own commissions, Robert Spring. Dr. Spring’s playing, particularly on the release of Dragon’s Tongue (1994), astonished listeners and composers alike, most notably with his mastery of extended techniques such as circular breathing and double tonguing. Within this document is a biography of Dr. Spring, focusing on his early life, his musical training and education, and his work. Additionally, a list of works that he has commissioned with annotations where applicable is included, along with detailed comments on the partnership with Dr. Spring and the resulting creations from composers Stacy Garrop, Eric Mandat, Theresa Martin, Scott McAllister, Whitney Prince, Rodney Rogers, Peter Schickele, and William O. Smith. It is my belief that future scholars will be able to place him within the long line of composer-clarinetist partnerships that have advanced not only the clarinet’s solo and chamber literature, but also the scope of performance techniques required of clarinetists.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)