Stephanie Zelnick

Stephanie Zelnick
  • Professor of Clarinet
  • Woodwinds

Contact Info

418 Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3103


Dr. Stephanie Zelnick is the Professor of Clarinet at the University of Kansas and Principal Clarinet of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. As a solo, orchestral, and chamber musician, she has appeared throughout North America, Asia, South America, and Europe. Performing at Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, Northwestern University, Yale School of Music, and many others, she has received critical acclaim for her "committed and polished performances." 

In addition to broadcasts on Performance Today and other NPR affiliates, she has performed and taught extensively throughout Italy, France, England, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Czech Republic, Spain, Costa Rica, Slovakia, Germany, and most recently at festivals in Brazil, Lithuania, Mexico, Serbia, Romania, Colombia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. Recent performances and masterclasses include Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, Florida State University, Real Conservatorio Superior de Madrid, the Lithuanian Academy of Music, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, Festival Internacional de Clarinetes Costa Rica, the Academy for the Performing Arts in Prague, the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, and the Dame Myra Hess Series, among others.

She is the recipient of awards from Privrednik (Serbia’s leading humanitarian organization), the Fulbright Commission, the Lithuanian Council on Arts and Science, and American embassies around the world. Dr. Zelnick has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras. She received the University of Kansas School of Music Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 2021. 

Dr. Zelnick’s recordings can be heard on the Innova, Accademia del Clarinetto, and Naxos labels, among others. She has also released two solo albums, Diaspora and Diversions: the Midcentury Clarinet, and a chamber album entitled AdZel. Of her recordings, The Clarinet praises her "crystal clear tone and beautifully shaped phrases.” Her most recent project Wind and Bow, recorded with members of the Kansas City Symphony, features rarely recorded works for clarinet and string quartet and will be released in 2021. She was also recently featured on the Brazilian album Choro Joiado

With Mariam Adam, she is a founder of the AdZel Duo, a group that is establishing cultural dialogues through music. The ensemble has commissioned and recorded works by contemporary composers and created concerts with writers that incorporate spoken word and music. Their album entitled AdZel received praise from The Clarinet for its “compelling unity of sound and excellent ensemble."

She previously held principal clarinet positions in Central City Opera, Johann Strauss Opera in Vienna, Mississippi Symphony, Prague Opera Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, and Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra and has appeared with various other orchestras including Colorado, Prague Chamber, Kansas City, Tallahassee, and Tucson Symphonies.

Previous teaching positions include the University of Wyoming and the University of Northern Colorado. She has appeared at numerous International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests as an invited artist and headliner at other festivals and conferences. Dr. Zelnick has served on the artistic committees of the 2008 and 2016 ClarinetFests and hosted the latter event.

She has published featured articles in The Clarinet including “The High Altitude Clarinetist” and "Notable Women Clarinetists Born Before 1950." She is currently writing a book on playing clarinet at high altitude and a project entitled "Women and the Clarinet" in conjunction with the University of the Arts in Helsinki. She is a member of the National Peer Review Committee for the J. William Fulbright Committee and was a Fulbright Grant recipient in the Czech Republic. She is a Buffet-Crampon Artist and Clinician.


Research interests:

  • performing nationally and internationally as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician
  • recording standard repertoire and underrepresented works for clarinet
  • international conference presentations and publications on gender and music and underrepresented composers and performers
  • international chamber music collaborations that explore new horizons and possibilities in music
  • commissioning and premiering original and innovative works
  • recipient of international and national grants including Fulbright Fellowship, Big XII Fellowship, Lithuanian Council for Arts and Sciences Grant, and the Privrednik Award
  • work on pedagogy and neurodiversity