Selvadore Rähni

b. June 28, 1968, Tartu
Member of the Estonian Association of Professional Musicians

Clarinetist and composer Selvadore Rähni is one of the most well-known Estonian clarinetists in the world. Active as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player, he is well-known also in Japan, where he served as the principal clarinetist of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra from 1997. He hold that position until 2005 and recorded as principal clarinet with KSO for the National TV and Radio of Japan as well as record company Arte Nova.

While in Japan, Selvadore got great recognition for his clarinet sound and music. One of the KSO principal conductors, Uwe Mund had this to say: “I immediately found his playing to appreciate. The artist distinguishes himself through highest qualified musicality, he is for sure the most outstanding wind soloist of this qualified orchestra. What’s more, the highly intelligent, however, always natural and graceful phrasing art enters to the beauty and sound capacity of his tone, that is the same craving and appreciated by all of his colleagues and conductors, whom I know and who performed with him.”

As a member of various orchestras, he has performed all over Europe, Russia, and Japan. As a soloist, Selvadore at the age of 16 had a debut with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in Tallinn and other major cities in Estonia, and in Moscow. His most important performances as a soloist were in Berlin, Tallinn, Moscow, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

As a chamber musician, Rähni had musical collaborations with the Leipzig String Quartet, and with cellists David Geringas and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, pianists Michie Koyama, Petras Geniusas, Albert Atenelle, Tuuli Rähni, and Kalle Randalu, and others. Selvadore has been invited to perform at many festivals including David Oistrakh Festival, Music Festival Glasperlenspiel, Yamanami Music Festival, Usedom Music Festival, etc.

Selvadore has also a brilliant educational background. From 1983 to 1986, Rähni studied clarinet at Tallinn Georg Ots Music School under Aleksander Rjabov and Hillar Aigro and continue under Rein Karin and Vahur Vurm at Tallinn State Conservatory from 1986 to 1991, having meanwhile studies at the Estonian Humanitarian Institute (1990–1991). During his studies, Rähni was awarded the first prize at the competition for young clarinet players in Tallinn in 1984. At the Estonian National Competition for Woodwind Players 1990, Rähni reached to the finals with the highest points but was forced to withdraw when his clarinet cracked. In spite of his withdrawal, he was awarded the special prize for the best performance of all woodwinds in the first round and the first prize of the competition was withheld. From 1991 to 1997 Rähni furthered his clarinet studies at the University of Music Karlsruhe with Professor Wolfgang Meyer, where he completed his postgraduate and doctoral studies, graduating with honors in 2001. In 1996, he assisted Professor Meyer at the University of Music Karlsruhe. He has improved his skills by studying additionally under the guidance of Professor Alain Damiens in Paris from 1993 to 1997.

Selvadore Rähni has given clarinet master courses in Japan, Spain, Estonia, and Germany.

As a composer, he has released the piano album "Snapshots from My Life". 

In 2015 CD was released with Brahms Sonatas and Schumann Fantasy Pieces. The critic says: …” As far as it comes to rock-solid and accurate intonation in every register, sumptuous phrasing, and impeccable co-operation, I recall no recording that could beat the present release by Selvadore and Tuuli Rähni.”

In 2019, Estonian Record Production label released CD with French clarinet music.

An example reaction to a Selvadore Rähni performance, in Kyoto Concert Hall:
"The greatest and most valuable performance this evening was the Rhapsody for clarinet and orchestra from Debussy. The soloist was Selvadore Rähni, the principal clarinetist of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. His rich sound has a definitive core and exceptionally fresh and vivid persuasive power. His marvelous breath control, his skill of the smooth performance without letting notice the difficulty of this hard piece, the ups and downs of the Rhapsody with the stable support of the breath were great. In each aspect, there was the highest “Art of the breath”. We were absolutely fascinated by him". Toshiya Hibiki - Ongaku no Tomo, 2000

© EMIC 2008
(updated in mAY 2019)

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