Robert Plane’s hugely varied career has seen concerto appearances in Europe, Asia and the USA, with performances of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in Madrid with the City of London Sinfonia, Beijing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and in the USA with the Virginia Symphony. In 1992 he won the overall Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition and he made his BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011. Other highlights of past seasons include Piers Hellawell’s Agricolas with the Ulster Orchestra and RTE Symphony Orchestra, Finzi with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Stanford with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Rob has tirelessly pursued a particular passion for British clarinet music in concert and on disc, his Gramophone Award-winning account of Finzi’s Concerto and Gramophone Award-shortlisted Bax Sonatas being just two of a large collection of recordings of works by the great English Romantics. He has performed and recorded with the Gould Piano Trio for over twenty-five years, and they commissioned Huw Watkins to compose ‘Four Fables’ for them in 2018 in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival.
Rob has explored the clarinet quintet repertoire with a number of the finest string quartets, opening BBC Radio 3’s ‘Brahms Experience’ with a live broadcast from St. George’s Bristol of the Brahms Quintet with the Skampa Quartet and appearing twice at the Wigmore Hall this past season with the Elias Quartet in Brahms and Bliss Quintets. He has given concerts in Germany and the USA with the Mandelring Quartet and at home in the UK with the Maggini, Carducci, Tippett, Brodsky, Dante and Sacconi Quartets. Rob has performed the clarinet and piano duo repertoire with Sophia Rahman since meeting as students at the Royal Academy of Music.
Always keen to take on a challenge, Rob gave his first performance of Boulez’s ‘Dialogue de l’ombre double’ at the Belfast Sonorities Festival in 2018, a work he subsequently revived in Manchester’s Stoller Hall in 2019. His delving into unjustly neglected works has unearthed concertos by Iain Hamilton, Ruth Gipps and Richard Walthew which he subsequently recorded at Glasgow City Halls with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins. The resulting disc, ‘Reawakened’, was released by Champs Hill Records in July 2020.
Rob was principal clarinet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales until June 2021 and has held the same position with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He was recently appointed Head of Woodwind Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.