Leonie Gerlach first discovered her love for the bass clarinet while studying with Prof. Ernst Kindermann in Düsseldorf and Prof. Ralph Manno in Cologne. Since then, she has devoted herself especially to the instrument. In 1996 she won her first permanent position as bass clarinetist with the Theater der Stadt Ulm. In 1999 she moved to the position of solo bass clarinetist with the Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe. In Karlsruhe she has played nearly all of the important solo passages for bass clarinet in the operatic repertoire, particularly those in the large-scale works of Wagner, Shostakovich and Strauss. She has also appeared as a bass clarinet soloist in symphonic concerts with the Badische Staatskapelle.
Apart from her orchestral position, Leonie Gerlach is hard at work getting the bass clarinet better established in chamber music. She therefore plays in ensembles with widely varying instrumentation: for example, with string quartets, with wind ensembles and with marimba. In 2007 she founded the Duo Barifono together with the American pianist Karen Tanaka in order to bring to light rarely performed repertoire for bass clarinet and piano.
Leonie Gerlach has made a name for herself through her attention to contemporary music for bass clarinet. She was a frequent guest at the musikFabrik NRW under the direction of Johannes Kallitzke and took part in numerous projects of the European Music Project (EMP) in Ulm.
Stimulated by Leonie Gerlach's great passion for the bass clarinet, a number of composers have dedicated new works to her. Besides the experimentation with sound and noise so central to contemporary music, Gerlach places great importance on bringing out the many faceted, late romantic tonal beauty of the bass clarinet.
Since 2008, she has an assistant professorship in bass clarinet at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe.
© 2009-2021 by Leonie Gerlach Photo: Diana Drechsler