Paul Votapek, principal clarinet, was chosen by former Music Director Christopher Seaman as principal clarinetist in 1996. He has appeared as a soloist with the Naples Philharmonic on five occasions and has also performed as principal clarinet with the Utah Symphony and Boston Esplanade Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Keith Lockhart.
In 2004, he performed at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan with his father Ralph Votapek and Concertmaster Glenn Basham. In the summers of 2005 and 2006, he performed and was on the faculty at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Wash. He also performed with the Kairos String Quartet at the Kairos Music Festival in Ellensburg, Wash. Recently Votapek and his father released a recording of the Concert and Contest Collection for Clarinet, a noted book of solo literature for student clarinetists.
Votapek received his bachelor’s and master's degrees from Northwestern University where he studied with Clark Brody and Robert Marcellus. He completed doctoral classes and recitals at Florida State University, where he studied with Frank Kowalsky. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Florida Gulf Coast University. Votapek has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1988.
Paul Votapek is underwritten by Louise & Henry Leander.
Name: Paul Votapek
Hometown: East Lansing, MI
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 10
Who have been your greatest musical influences? Robert Marcellus and Frank Kowalsky, my clarinet teachers at Northwestern University and Florida State University.
Who are your favorite composers? Mozart, Brahms, Prokofiev.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? Engineering or professional baseball announcer.
What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? Mozart piano concertos.
Your hobbies and interests: Running, chess, the Chicago Cubs.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: I rode my bicycle across the country.
Funniest concert moment: Forgetting my white bow tie on a run out to Port Charlotte and having to make one out of bathroom paper towels. (It didn't look too bad, actually.)
The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "How long have you been playing?" My answer: "33 years."
Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: All the different repertoire we play. And it is such a good orchestra.