Combs named to WV Music Hall of Fame
Larry Combs credits A.E. Raspillaire, his bandleader in South Charleston, for encouragement and direction.
December 16, 2009 ·
Larry Combs of Charleston has been named to the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame after three decades as principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
can say, and not really be lying, that you wake up every morning really eager
to go to work and eager to play every concert, then you can be a very happy
person, " said Combs who attended the induction ceremony at the Culture
Center last month.
Combs says he
took to the clarinet from an early age. He credits A.E. Raspillaire, his
bandleader in South Charleston, for encouragement and direction.
As a teenager
Combs was playing for the Charleston Symphony and went on to attend the Eastman
School of Music in New York.
Eastman, he played with the New Orleans Symphony, the West Point Band, and the
as I love playing jazz or playing chamber music, I think it’s the orchestral
playing that identifies me."
Combs made his
musical mark as the principal clarinetist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,
starting with renowned conductor Georg Solti:
was almost a father figure," said Combs.
extremely demanding, but there was a certain humanity to his work that shines
through in the music, so I felt very fortunate of having all those years of
working with him."
Combs says his
time with the Chicago Symphony was extremely rewarding.
feeling of a hundred people working together to achieve something special. And
there’s not so many situations where you can experience that," said Combs.
Combs is now
retired from the Chicago Symphony, but continues to tour as a soloist, teach
advanced students at DePaul University, and play chamber music.