Category Archives: History

Exploring Career Possibilities and Probabilities of Success in Studying the Clarinet

When it comes to pursuing a career in music, the possibilities are as diverse as the instruments themselves. One such instrument that has captivated audiences for centuries is the clarinet. A young person considering studying the clarinet may wonder about the career possibilities and the probabilities of success that lie ahead. Let’s delve into this fascinating world to shed some light on the subject.

Performance Opportunities:
For those passionate about playing the clarinet, a career as a professional performer is a compelling choice. Clarinetists have a wide range of options, including joining orchestras, chamber music ensembles, or even pursuing a solo career. Opportunities to perform can arise in symphony halls, concert venues, opera houses, or as part of touring ensembles. Successful clarinetists often secure positions in renowned orchestras or pursue teaching positions in prestigious institutions.

Session and Studio Work:
Clarinetists can also explore session and studio work, contributing their skills to a variety of musical genres. This includes participating in recording sessions for albums, film scores, television shows, or even video game soundtracks. Versatile clarinet players can adapt to different musical styles, enhancing their chances of securing such opportunities.

Teaching and Education:
A career in teaching can be a rewarding path for those who not only excel at playing the clarinet but also have a passion for imparting knowledge. Teaching positions can be found in schools, conservatories, universities, or through private instruction. Some clarinetists also choose to offer masterclasses or workshops, sharing their expertise with aspiring musicians.

Orchestral Opportunities:
Orchestras provide a platform for clarinetists to showcase their skills and passion. While securing a permanent position in a major orchestra can be highly competitive, there are other avenues to explore. Freelance opportunities, substitute positions, or participating in regional orchestras can help young clarinetists gain valuable experience, build their network, and increase their chances of success.

Chamber Music:
Chamber music, an intimate form of ensemble playing, offers clarinetists the chance to collaborate closely with other musicians. Joining a chamber music group can lead to performances in various settings, such as concert series, festivals, and even international tours. This path allows for artistic expression and the opportunity to establish oneself as a versatile and sought-after musician.

Composing and Arranging:
Some clarinetists choose to explore their creativity by composing or arranging music. This can involve writing original pieces for the clarinet or adapting existing compositions for the instrument. With dedication and skill, a clarinetist-composer can find opportunities to have their works performed, recorded, or published.

While the possibilities for a career in clarinet playing are vast, it’s important to acknowledge the probabilities of success and the challenges one may encounter along the way. The music industry is highly competitive, demanding continuous dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to ongoing improvement. Success often requires not only exceptional talent but also networking skills, entrepreneurial mindset, and a willingness to embrace new opportunities.

Building a successful career as a clarinetist often requires years of study, practice, and performance experience. A solid foundation through formal education, such as a degree in music performance or clarinet, can provide crucial training and guidance. Additionally, seeking mentorship from established clarinetists and participating in competitions, masterclasses, and workshops can help young clarinetists develop their skills and gain exposure.

Success in the music industry is not solely measured by fame and fortune. It is a deeply personal journey, where fulfillment and artistic growth play vital roles. Remember that success can take various forms, and finding joy and fulfillment in playing the clarinet can be a rewarding achievement in itself.

In conclusion, pursuing a career as a clarinetist offers a wide range of possibilities for young musicians. Whether it’s performing on grand stages, recording in studios, teaching future generations, or exploring other creative avenues, a career in clarinet playing can be rich and fulfilling. While the path may be challenging, with dedication, talent, and a passion for music, young clarinetists can increase their probabilities of success and embark on a remarkable musical journey.

Jean Montour A Paris Clarinet

From Karmin:

I am a graduate clarinet student and have recently come across a vintage clarinet and I would like to find out more about it. I have been researching every possible place, but this one in particular doesn’t have much readily available information. I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me! Here’s what I know:
The clarinet is in wonderful shape and plays well. The parts, including bell and barrel, are all original and there are no cracks. The A key has been soldered, but everything else is original (except for pads, obviously!). It is a B High pitch clarinet with the “Jean Montour A Paris” brand with the little fly and a symbol underneath, with a “B”. I have not been able to find any serial numbers, but may have overlooked something. I believe that it is grenadilla wood, and the wood looks fabulous! The clarinet could stand to be cleaned a good bit, but that is all superficial and should clean up well. 

Reply by Martin Freres Company:

The Jean Montour A Paris is definitely a model manufactured by Martin Freres Paris. We have not ascertained the historical significance or provenance of the Jean Montour name but our research continues. 
What we do know is that this model was manufactured in Paris c1900 – 1905, prior to the Gran Prix model. These were not manufactured for export from France, however, Jean Montour instruments are extant across Europe today attesting to how well they were made. JFB Martin also made Oboes and Low clarinets with the Jean Montour name and the Martin Family’s iconic bumblebee stamp is clearly affixed. No serial numbers are know to have been engraved on these models.
Your clarinet was featured in the 1905 Martin Freres Catalog (advertised with the Martin Freres name) which you can see here:

As far as we are concerned, this clarinet is a priceless piece of history.

Because the piece is over 100 years old, we cannot provide a value for resale or for insurance replacement. 
Take care of it and enjoy it!

Best Regards,

The Martin Freres Company

Jean Montour A Paris by Martin Freres c1905

Grand Prix Low B Clarinet c1906-1914

Good Afternoon,

I wonder if you are able, please, to give me advice regarding my son’s Clarinet which was willed to him some 15 years ago. We are not especially interested in it’s value, although if it is valuable it would be useful to know as more care should be taken of it!

I have had it identified by a company who specialize in instrument repairs here in Brisbane. The instrument in question is a Grand Prix B low pitch serial number 1010. It was difficult to identify as the stamping is very faint but it is definitely Martin Freres with the little fly.

At some time it has had a pinned repair on the section next to the mouthpiece. The repair is still in good order.

What we would really like to know is when it was manufactured, so if you could offer a guidance as whom I may contact who could help me establish this I would indeed be very grateful.

Best wishes and thank you in hopeful anticipation,

John R.



Thank you for your email.

The Grand Prix was a limited edition clarinet produced c1906-1914 by Martin Freres to coincide with the first Grand Prix races in France.

Unfortunately, we no longer have serial number to date-stamp data for such models so we cannot be certain of the exact date of manufacture. However, we can find no Grand Prix model advertisements after 1914.

The original advertisement can be found here:

Value estimations can be found here:

Identifying photo can be found here:

Thank you,
The Martin Freres Company Team

Martin Freres Company

The Honored Journey of the Martin Freres Company Namesake

Martin Freres A Paris 19th Century Logo

Early Logo

The Martin Freres Societe (fr., Martin Brothers Company), was established in the year 1840 in the city of La Couture Boussey, Eure France by (Francois) Jean-Baptiste (Born 1817, Dec 1877), Claude Eugene (Born 1819, Dec 1874) & Felix (Born 1821, Dec 1896) MARTIN (surname).
These fine craftsmen hand-manufactured flutes and clarinets from 1840 until their deaths*.

Martin Freres Logo

Martin Freres A PARIS

In the late 1890s, the Thibouville Family of Paris partnered with the Jean-Baptiste Martin Family to continue the Martin Freres tradition through ~1927.

Martin Freres 20th Century Logo

Martin Freres 20th Century Logo

In the 1930s, a team of French & American businessmen revived the company and licensed the Martin Freres name to various woodwind manufacturers worldwide to produce student and intermediate woodwinds until the 1960s.

Martin Freres Company Today

Martin Freres Company

For the 21st century, a new generation of clarinet makers has risen to the challenge to keep the Martin brother’s dream alive. With great honor and deep respect for the groundbreaking work of its namesake’s founding fathers, the Martin Freres Company woodwind makers carry on that same fine family journey of excellence.
That is why clarinetists of today and beyond will say with pride,I Play a Martin Freres!  sm
– The Martin Freres Company Team


* The Martin Family actually began manufacturing woodwind instruments in the year 1740 (inspiring the collection of models with the 1740 stamp released in the 1940s and 50s) in La Couture Boussey (Eure) FR. The use of the company and brand name ‘Martin Freres’ (for woodwind manufacturing) does not first appear anywhere in the world until 1840.

The Martin Freres Company is a family business.

The Martin Freres Company has never been associated with the Martin Band Equipment Co., USA; the C.F. Martin Company, or the Martin Guitar Company.

Take me to:

The Clarinet Catalog

About Martin Freres Company

Martin Freres Catalog of Clarinets 1905

Select pages from the Martin Freres 1905 Catalog of Clarinets.

In 1905, Martin Freres instruments were manufactured in La Couture Boussey, Eure, France.
The catalog features Boehm, Demi-Boehm, Albert, Simple and J-B Martin System Clarinets.

What does J-B Martin stand for?

  • J-B, Jean Baptiste Martin, one of the company founders; son of Francois Martin, founder of Martin Clarinets of La Coutoure Boussey, FR c1740;
  • J-B Martin is the name given to the patented System of clarinets designed and manufactured by Jean Baptiste Martin and his brothers;
  • J.B.M. stamped on many clarinets dating c1888 – c1927 stands for Francois Jean Baptiste Martin (the son of Jean Baptiste Martin, the company founder);
  • J-B Martin is also a d/b/a and brand name used by Martin Freres for worldwide sales and distribution;

Martin Freres Clarinet Catalog 1905

Martin Freres Clarinet Catalog 1905


Vintage Martin Freres 1740 Deluxe Model Over 75 Years Old

During a time in instrument manufacturing history, when clarinets were being widely produced for the Big Band Jazz sound, Martin Freres Woodwinds continued focusing their manufacturing efforts on superior quality Grenadilla Wood Bb clarinets for the Symphonic enthusiast. Just after World War II, Martin Freres released a well-fine-tuned instrument for experienced clarinetists engraved, ‘Martin Freres Paris Model 1740 Deluxe.’  Today, over 75 years since its debut, the instrument is still performing for artists and collectors around the globe.

The 1740 Deluxe did not follow the mainstream clarinet construction techniques of the era, known as the large-bore clarinet (15.0mm and larger) made popular by such manufacturers as Conn, Selmer, Boosey & Hawkes, and Penzel Mueller. Rather, Martin Freres manufactured the 1740 Deluxe using a small 14.5mm bore, which was embraced by clarinetists throughout the world for playing classical pieces.

The 1740 Deluxe features outstanding intonation and key action throughout the registers, as well as the throat tones, making it an ideal example of a mid 20th century professional clarinet.

The Martin Freres 1740 Deluxe was manufactured in Paris, France from 1945 until the 1960s. Originally crafted to play to 19th-century tuning (A = 442 Hz), clarinet barrels are readily available to transform the 1740 Deluxe tuning to the modern A = 440 Hz; fitted to mouthpieces with tenons measuring 22.0mm – 22.6mm.

Acoustically, the 1740 Deluxe boasts an underlying whisper (silvery overtones) to complement its bright, rich tone and reaching projection. Players can easily blend with the full cast of instruments or stand out in solo performances for virtually any venue.

The 1740 Deluxe has become a rare find. Catch one if you can!



Top Receiver ID: 22.25mm; Tenon Receiver Depth: 17.30mm; Center Bore: 14.50mm

Bottom Receiver ID: 22.85mm; Tenon Receiver Depth: 20.30mm; Center Bore: 14.50mm

Bore Style: Straight

Length: 64mm

Upper Joint:

Top Tenon OD: 22.7mm; Tenon Height: 19.9mm; Center Bore: 14.50mm

Bottom Tenon OD: 21.9mm; Tenon Height: 16.3mm; Center Bore: 14.69mm

Lower Joint:

Top Receiver ID: 21.2mm; Tenon Receiver Depth: 15.7mm; Center Bore: 14.77mm

Bottom Tenon OD: 27.2mm; Tenon Height: 19.8mm; Center Bore: 21.9mm


Top Receiver ID: 26.8mm; Tenon Receiver Depth 19.8mm; Length: 105.3mm