Aileen Razey, whom The Clarinet described as having “a truly beautiful sound which she displayed with an emotionally colorful performance,” crosses boundaries between musical genres and atmospheres.
The collaborative energy of many musicians joining together for the purpose of enriching the lives of their audience drives Aileen’s playing. Her orchestral playing connects her with a wide variety of musicians and audiences around the world. She performs often with Syracuse Orchestra (NY), Allentown Symphony (PA), and Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (PA). She previously performed with the Aspen Music Festival and School, performing with the four orchestras and opera orchestra. She has also performed with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Szavaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Allen Philharmonic, Abilene Philharmonic, Lone Star Wind Orchestra, and Dallas Winds. Razey can be heard as principal and e-flat clarinetist on five GIA records with the North Texas Wind Symphony.
Razey is an advocate of living composers, and her dedication to bringing life to music of today has led collaborates with emerging national and international composers. As a clarinetist with the Lucerne Festival Academy, she presented audiences with 20th and 21st century orchestral repertoire in major concert halls including Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Kölner Philharmonie,and the Cultural and Congress Center of Lucerne, Switzerland. Razey was a clarinetist for Klangspuren Schwaz International Ensemble Modern Academy in Schwaz, Austria, performing works by living composers such as Rebecca Saunders. She explored performance art and the music of Aperghis, among other contemporary chamber works, at the Institute and Festival of Contemporary Performance at Mannes.
The Music of Kornel Thomas
Aileen is committed to performing the works of her husband, Kornel Thomas. She describes his music as, “a musical world of groovy rhythms, challenging fingers, and a dance club, all leading to the most rewarding performing and listening experience.” She has performed his works at the International Clarinet Association, and premiered his concertino for wind ensemble and clarinet in Mach 2023 with the Kutztown Wind Ensemble.
With a drive to introduce chamber music of various instrumentation, from standards to contemporary repertoire, Razey values the relationships built among her chamber music colleagues. Together with the captivating flutist, Janet Axelrod, they premiered Kornel Thomas’ “Spirit Guides,” alongside the artwork of Kristen Egan. Global Performance Connections, alongside charismatic bassist, Manuel Figuero, is dedicated to bringing music from living composers around the globe to audiences around the globe.
“the opening of Daphnis with an ease rarely heard.” - ICA
Competitions and performances allows Razey to discover new musical ideas and break through performance limits, while also traveling internationally. After winning first prize winner at the Henri Selmer Summer Clarinet Academy Solo Competition, she has embraced received feedback of “taking a musical chance” in her performing. She was a semi-finalist in the Lisbon International Clarinet Competition and finalist at the International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition. Razey was second prize winner at the International Clarinet Association’s Orchestra Audition Competition, where The Clarinet depicted her performance of “the opening of Daphnis with an ease rarely heard.”
Passing on a musical education is the only future for music.
Dr. Razey’s performing has a direct influence on her approach to pedagogy, and vice-versa. There is no greater joy to her than helping musicians realize their personal and professional goals, taking action steps to reach those goals, attaining those goals, and accelerating past to new ones. She will be Assistant Professor, Clarinet, at St. Olaf College beginning in Fall 2024. Currently, she is Assistant Professor at Kutztown University where she teaches applied clarinet lessons, clarinet choir, the Modern Private Music Teacher, Introduction to Music Business, Introduction to Music, and serves as Outreach/Audition Coordinator for the Department of Music. She previously taught as Lecturer of Clarinet at Ithaca College. Her previous clarinet students are now music educators, performing professionally, and attending graduate schools. Bringing together her passion for the performance world and academia, Razey serves as Performance Chair for the College Music Society Northeast Chapter.
"My own teachers are my biggest inspiration."
Razey holds dearly onto the legacy of clarinet playing passed on to her from her own clarinet teachers, all of whom have influenced her performance and pedagogy tremendously. She earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Clarinet Performance from the University of North Texas with a related field in music education, where she studied with Kimberly Cole Luevano and served as Teaching Fellow in Clarinet. She earned a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from University of Denver, where she studied with Jeremy Reynolds and served as Graduate Teaching Assistant in Clarinet and Musicology. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College, where she studied with Michael Galvan. Razey also studied with Michael Rusinek at the Aspen Music Festival, Gabor Varga while living in Budapest Hungary, and most recently with Pavel Vinnitsky.
To sustain a life as musician and educator, Aileen firmly believes in prioritizing physical and mental health along with dedication to her craft. She practices yoga, runs, dances, hikes and finds other ways to get up and move. She is on the International Clarinet Association’s Health and Wellness Committee, with a commitment to providing resources and activities to help the clarinet world in their healthy lifestyle endeavors. Aileen resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, where they tend to a their houseplants, explore local eateries, and travel often.