The intensity and focus of Michele Zukovsky’s illustrious performance career is matched by her firm dedication to music education. Her warm, personalized approach to teaching was inherited from her father and mentor, Kalman Bloch, whose method aimed to nurture the unique musicality and learning style of each pupil. His generosity as an instructor nourished Michele’s own unique pedagogical vision — both direct and compassionate, as adaptable as it is meticulous, and marked by her characteristic enthusiasm, humor, and humility. She regards herself as an advocate for students, seeking to inspire them through embodied, ear-driven training peppered with pertinent real-world insights.
It’s a model that also evolved organically alongside her rich professional experience. While retaining her post at the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1961-2015 and fostering a global profile as a soloist, she also offered masterclasses worldwide, including at prestigious institutions such as Juilliard, Guild Hall, Aspen, the Banff Centre, and the Glenn Gould School. She is currently a faculty member at Azusa Pacific University, Citrus College, and the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, while teaching virtual masterclasses throughout the world. Michele’s previous academic affiliations include the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California and the California Institute of the Arts.
Though having attained an admirable stature as an interpreter, Michele remains grounded—not only by the hard work that won her this acclaim, but by a firm belief in the reciprocal nature of learning, and the joy that she derives from teaching.
Michele has taught some of the most prominent clarinetists in the world.
Here is what they have to say about her…
“Refining one’s technique, tonal concept and musical understanding of the clarinet repertoire by one of the most celebrated clarinetists of our time, living legend, Maestra Zukovsky, is an opportunity not to be missed!”
Principal Clarinet, Philadelphia Orchestra
“Michele Zukovsky is one of the great orchestral musicians of all time, a living legend of clarinet artistry. 46 years ago she taught me everything I needed to know about how to play the great orchestral clarinet repertoire, and now we are so fortunate that she continues to share her unparalleled expertise and experience with us! On top of that, she is a truly wonderful person filled with positivity and good humor. If you aspire to make music on the clarinet in a symphony orchestra, you owe it to yourself to take lessons with Michele. I’ll always be thankful that I did!”
John Bruce Yeh
Assistant Principal Clarinet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
“Michele was one of my mentors early in my student years and I have invited her to give classes at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto on a couple of occasions. She is in my mind, one of the finest clarinetists in the world. My students have always said that she is one of their favourite clarinetists to give master classes. She is incredibly experienced and I can not say enough great things about her, especially in her knowledge and experience of the orchestral repertory.”
Principal Clarinet, Toronto Symphony
“I studied with Michele for only a few years, but she has been the most influential musical mentor in my life. In my quest for beauty of sound and in my approach to performing chamber music, I have always been inspired by her elegance and poise. Her phrasing is genius. People often say ”that’s the sort of thing that cannot be taught”; but it can be, and I am forever grateful for every lesson I had with Michele.”
Second and Eb Clarinet, San Diego Symphony
Contact Michele to inquire about clarinet lessons, either in person or online.