Clarinetist Erika Block hails from Annapolis, Maryland. She is currently the clarinet instructor at Western Washington University. Her studio has increased to 11 students over the last 3 years, and she looks forward to its continued growth.
Erika received her bachelor and master’s degrees from Boston University, studying with Thomas Martin, Associate Principal Clarinet of the Boston Symphony and Principal Clarinet of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Upon finishing her degrees, she relocated to Philadelphia, PA and studied with Ricardo Morales, principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2004, Erika moved to Vancouver BC to work with clarinet manufacturer, Backun Musical Services. There she was the director of marketing and artist relations, sales, distribution and trade show/website design. She performed frequently with the Lion’s Gate Sinfonia, Vancouver Island Symphony, Abbotsford Symphony, and UBC faculty contemporary ensemble, Nu:BC.
Erika is a founding member of Fifth Inversion, WWU’s faculty woodwind quintet. This year, Fifth Inversion was invited to give a world premiere in Minneapolis, MN. They have also performed and led masterclasses in Cody, WY and throughout Washington. Fifth Inversion has also begun a collaboration called “Between Two Worlds,” where they perform annually with the BJ Block Jazz Trio. The eight musicians explore the similarities and differences between the languages of classical and jazz music.
In addition to her duties at WWU, Erika is Principal Clarinet in the Pacific Northwest Opera orchestra, performed concertos the last two seasons with the Skagit Symphony, and often plays with Bellingham Chamber Music Society, Whatcom Chorale, Bellingham Music Club, and the Bellingham Festival of Music.
Over the last few years, Erika has had the pleasure of performing in several of the Bellingham Festival of Music’s concerts. She is looking forward to participating as a board member to help connect the WWU and Bellingham musical communities with BFM.