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Meet the SLSO: Diana Haskell, Associate Principal Clarinet

What is the last sound (music or otherwise) that inspired you? What was moving about it?

This summer, I was at the Chautauqua Institution in New York teaching and

coaching. During a break, I stepped outside and heard the opera department

rehearsing with the Chautauqua Orchestra at the Amphitheater. The sounds filtered

through the trees and wind as I walked down narrow lanes. It gave me chills and

reminded me how powerful music is to the human experience.

What is one piece of music a person new to the classical genre should listen to? Why?

Too hard to choose! But I’d say start with one movement from Bach’s St. John Passion; Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major; and any piano sonata by Beethoven. This list is

a little unorthodox, I realize.

You can have a meal with any musician, living or deceased. Who would you pick

and why?

Johann Sebastian Bach. Hands down, no contest. I’d probably be too nervous to

speak, but I would love to know more about his faith and the marvelous notes that he

wrote in the margins of his Calov Bible.

If you could select one stand-out moment of your time with the SLSO, what would

it be and why?

So many to choose from…every moment is special! Our tours have all been

fantastic, and I especially loved playing Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles with

David Robertson. But for me, playing children’s concerts and waving at students

that I’ve just met outside is most meaningful. It is a joy when we make those


What makes the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra special?

The musicians make this orchestra unique in that we are extremely friendly, warm,

and kind. We also love collaborating, encouraging, and inspiring one another. We

work together very well as a team. I believe these characteristics help our music-making


This interview appears in the September 2019 Playbill.


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