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Leslie Grimm

Senior Lecturer - Northwestern University

Leslie Grimm, one of Chicago’s prominent freelance clarinetists, has performed with the area’s most distinguished ensembles, including the St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Grant Park Symphonies, as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Chicago Opera Theater and the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Active in the Chicago area for over 35 years, Leslie worked extensively with the Milwaukee Symphony, holding second/E-flat clarinet contracts between 1990-91. She performed on many of their recordings (Teldec and Koss labels: Beethoven, Berlioz, and Dvorak), and toured with the Symphony, including performances in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She has also performed and recorded with the St. Louis Symphony (Mahler, Telarc label).

Leslie currently serves as the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Sinfonietta (MacArthur Award-winning Diverse Orchestra). With the Sinfonietta, Leslie has joined six European tours. She can be heard on over 15 recordings (Centaur, Fanfare, Pro-Arte, and Cedille labels), including their most recent release, Project W, Chicago Sinfonietta’s initiative to highlight contemporary, diverse, women composers.

Since 1992, Leslie has frequently appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago including playing bass clarinet for the 2003-04 season. Over the years, she can be found almost anywhere in the opera house, including on stage as a clarinet soloist during a recent Don Giovanni production.

Ms. Grimm has worked with the Grant Park Symphony since 1986, playing both clarinet, bass clarinet and Eb clarinets. She held season contracts in both 1997 and 1998 and can be heard on their recording, Selections of American Music.

Active in the Chicago music theater scene, Leslie performed in downtown productions of Ragtime in 1998-99, the Phantom of the Opera in 2004 and Wicked in 2006-07. Most currently she played clarinet and bass clarinet at the Goodman Theater in the production of Music Man (2019).

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