Afendi Yusuf

Alumnus Afendi Yusuf Named Principal Clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra

The Royal Conservatory congratulates Afendi Yusuf, an alumnus of The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School (GGS), on his appointment as Principal Clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra. The position is one of the most prestigious posts in the world for professional clarinetists.  

Born in Ethiopia, Yusuf moved to Canada with his family and grew up in Waterloo, Ontario. He discovered his love of music in middle school; he began by playing the recorder, which led him to the clarinet. “It’s a versatile instrument, and I find it comforting,” he said to Musical America.

Yusuf went on to attend GGS where he studied with distinguished clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas. In a statement released by the Cleveland Orchestra, he credited Valdepeñas as a dedicated mentor whose guidance played an important role in his artistic development.

The prestigious position may be Yusuf’s first professional appointment but he already has extensive experience playing with acclaimed orchestras. He has appeared as the guest principal with the Toronto and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras, and has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Yusuf begins his role with the acclaimed ensemble, led by music director Franz Welser-Möst, in late September, as the group begins its centennial season.

The Glenn Gould School is supported by funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Arts Training Fund, and from the Ontario Arts Council.

For information on how to apply to The Glenn Gould School, please visit the school’s website.

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