Clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle plays with seamless elegance, telling nuances and spacious tonal resources.
— Donald Rosenberg,
Gramophone Magazine

KATHRYNE PIRTLE is clarinetist of The Orion Ensemble, founded in 1992. The ensemble performs three series in metropolitan Chicago, appears on live broadcasts on 98.7 WFMT and tours throughout North America. Their extensive outreach includes a chamber music camp called OPUS and a school partnership program, mentoring high school chamber groups in selected schools and the Chicago Youth Symphony.

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Ms. Pirtle has served as Principal Clarinet of the Lake Forest Symphony since 1990. Her other orchestral affiliations include the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony and Elgin Symphony.

In 2004, Hal Leonard Corporation released her first solo album, Works for Unaccompanied Clarinet, The Music of J. S. Bach from the transcription of H. Voxman (Rubank). In 2017, she released her second solo album, Telemann Twelve Fantasias Transcribed for Clarinet Solo from the transcription of Sidney Forrest (Southern Music).

Kathryne has taught privately since 1980. She gives master classes on clarinet pedagogy and chamber music literature, as well as nonprofit chamber music organizational development. She has served on the faculties of Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Northern Illinois University, Bradley University, Indiana University and New Trier High School. She currently teaches and coaches chamber music at her home studio and Hinsdale South High School.

Ms. Pirtle is a Backun Artist and performs on Backun MoBa clarinets and mouthpieces. She is also a Silverstein Artist and a Legere Artist.

She has written a book on nutrition using traditional foods: Performance Without Pain (New Trends, 2006) and an e-book: Acid Reflux—A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness—Achieving Lasting Healing with Traditional Foods (2009). Since 2004, she has given more than 100 workshops in the U.S. and internationally and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. In 2012, she was a speaker at the Wise Traditions Conference in London, England.  She has been published in the International Musician, International Clarinet, The Autism File Global, Advance Magazine (a publication for physical therapy) and Wise Traditions. For more information visit

Photo Credits:

  • Ed Ingold: Home Page and Publications, large photos; Bio Page, bottom; Twelve Fantasias, bottom small photo
  • Jonathan Roob: CD, Front cover; Bio Page, headshot; Contact page
  • Cornelia Babbitt: Bio page, large picture