Clarinetist Gary Dranch holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he specialized in contemporary music. Dr. Dranch dedicated much of his career to expanding the clarinet repertoire, and has commissioned or had works written for him by such composers as Elliott Schwartz, John Bavicchi, Peter Hazzard, Douglas Anderson, and Daniel Wolff. The latter’s CD entitled “The Brazilian Concerto” was a nominee for a Grammy in the Category “Best Soloist with Orchestral Accompaniment” in 2001. It featured Dranch as guest soloist performing Daniel Wolff “Concerto for Clarinet and Strings” which he commissioned. William Nichols of THE CLARINET journal wrote (June 2001): "...Gary possesses one of the darkest, most even and beautifully colored tones I have heard on digital discs lately. His technique is clean and smooth, and his approach, most appropriately in this piece, is unforced. He is in control at all times." Recently, John Bavicchi composed “Tomorrow will be Today”, opus 126, a Double Concerto for Clarinet, Mezzo-Soprano and Mixed Ensemble, which he dedicated to Dranch, and which he premiered at the Lawrence Academy of Music in Groton, MA in 2006.
Dr. Dranch attended The Eastman School of Music as a student of Stanley Hasty where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance. He obtained his Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A native New Yorker, Dranch has held the principal clarinet position with the Greenwich Village Orchestra for several years, in addition to performing with the Lehman College (C.U.N.Y.) Orchestra, and the Westchester Band. In the New York area, he appeared as soloist with the Bronx Symphony, Centre Symphony, Broadway Bach Ensemble, and the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble. In South America, Dr. Dranch made several solo appearances with orchestras in Brazil and Argentina. He was a clinician and soloist at the Fifth International Music Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he performed the clarinet concertos of Daniel Wolff and Craig Morris with the Festival Orchestra. He also appeared as soloist with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of the Hindemith Clarinet Concerto at the Teatro Colón. Dranch's first solo CD was released in 2006 on MSR Classics label, entitled "The Twentieth Century Clarinet Concerto", which contains the clarinet concertos of Hindemith, Bavicchi and Wolff. ‘The Clarinet’ review (March 2007) concluded: “I recommend this recording as a worthy addition to the contemporary clarinetist’s audio library…there is something for everyone here, and then some. Gary Dranch is supremely adept at handling the technical and musical challenges that arise in these works”. Dr. Dranch was an invited performer at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest in Vancouver, Canada in 2007, as well as having participated for several years as a clarinet faculty member in "AMEROPA", a summer chamber music festival in Prague, The Czech Republic. Dranch was soloist with the Brasov Filarmonica (Romania) in 2009, when he performed the Nielson Clarinet Concerto, and with the Filarmonica de Stat SIBIU (ROMANIA) in 2012, where he performed the Spohr Clarinet Concerto No.4. He is a frequent solo and chamber music recitalist who has performed at the Loeb Center, New York University, Merkin Hall (where he gave his New York debut), Donnell Library, ‘The Atrium’ at CitiCorp Center, and the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Lincoln Center Library.