Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Afendi Yusuf was recently appointed Principal Clarinet of The Cleveland Orchestra. He has appeared as guest principal with several North American orchestras, including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company, and the Toronto and Cincinnati symphony orchestras. As a guest musician, he has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, Gianandrea Noseda, Edo de Waart, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, and Leon Fleisher.
A winner of numerous competitions, Mr. Yusuf has made solo appearances with the Colburn Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, and the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has collaborated with the likes of Charles Neidich, Ronald Leonard, Martin Beaver, and with renowned composers George Friedrich Haas, John Adams, and Anders Hillborg. Mr. Yusuf is a grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Arts and received the Vincent Wilkinson Foundation Fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival and School. He is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Brott Music Festival, the National Arts Centre’s Young Artists Program, and is a recent participant of the Marlboro Music Festival.
Mr. Yusuf holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, as a student of Ross Edwards, and an Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School in Toronto, Ontario, as a full-scholarship student of Joaquin Valdepeñas. He also holds a Master of Music degree and Professional Studies Certificate from the Colburn School’s Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, California, where he was a student of Yehuda Gilad.