Print Shortlink

Atkins, David (1937-October 2022)

Clarinetist, and teacher born in Los Angeles, California who studied the clarinet and music at high school and took lessons with Roy D’Antonio, Antonio Raimondi and Mitchell Lurie. He took further studies at East Los Angeles College, University of Southern California, Cal State Long Beach and UCLA.  During these years he was a member of the Meremblum Junior Orchestra.

After he left college he became a soloist with Henri Temianka’s Little Symphony which became the California Chamber Symphony in 1960.  He also appeared as a soloist with several other orchestras and at the Alaska Music Festival with the conductor Robert Shaw and the Ojai Festival with Pierre Boulez.

He became Principal Clarinet at the Britt Festival and with the Pasadena Symphony and often performed as a musician with other orchestras such as the American Ballet Theater, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the New York City Opera.

As a chamber musician he was a co-founder and long-time member of the Los Angeles-based Westwood Wind Quintet from 1959, which tackled a daunting array of modern compositions by mavericks such as Samuel Barber, Paul Hindemith, Gyorgy Ligeti, Carl Nielsen, and Arnold Schoenberg.  He was also a musician with the Amati, Paganini and Philadelphia string quartets.

After he retired in the 1990s he relocated to Washington state and went on a world tour with Yanni, performed with the Fear No Music ensemble and was a sub for the Seattle Symphony.   He and his wife went on to buy and run a restaurant in the latter half of the 1990.

William Schmidt dedicated his “Duo with Cadenzas” to David and fellow WWQ member, oboist Peter Christ. In fact, one of David’s many recordings includes one simply titled Oboist Peter Christ. He also appeared on Ebony Forest, New Virtuoso Music for Clarinet and Piano, Songs of Early America, Sacred and Profane, Thomas Stevens, Trumpet, A Tribute to Soprano Bethany Beardslee, and the 1979 Frank Sinatra boxed set, Trilogy.

He passed away in October 2002 when he was 85 years old.