Get to know the Grossman Ensemble: Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh, clarinet

Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh in rehearsal with the Grossman Ensemble

Here at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition, we’re gearing up for the first live Grossman Ensemble concert since 2019! To welcome back our musicians, composers, and audiences, we’ll be introducing (or re-introducing) you to the ensemble members throughout the season. We recently featured harpist Ben Melsky and now we're turning our attention to clarinetist Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh. Keep reading to learn about Katie's passion for jewelry making and to find out which contemporary clarinet technique is her favorite!

What has been your most memorable moment from your time in the Grossman Ensemble?

Playing the bass clarinet and bari sax duet in David Rakowski’s ‘Lee’ during the very first Grossman Ensemble performance with my colleague Taimur Sullivan was a musical highlight for me. The piece is a dedication to composer Lee Hyla, and the duet is syncopated and raucous and felt like a party was happening when we performed it!

What other ways do you like to make music in your life?

I’ve always loved songwriting. When I come up with a chord progression or a hook that I’m excited about, I can sit at the piano and half the day can go by without me realizing it.

Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh, clarinet

When you’re not rehearsing or performing with the Grossman Ensemble, you spend some time designing and making jewelry. How did you become interested in this craft?

I’ve been making jewelry before I even started playing the clarinet! When I was seven years old, my neighbor took me to a bead store (I had five dollars to spend!) and I was mesmerized with everything I saw there. I went from beading to wire wrapping to metalsmithing and now goldsmithing. During the pandemic, my husband helped me to build a jeweler’s bench in our home which has led to a more serious effort at ramping up my jewelry business.

Do you have other crafts or hobbies that you enjoy doing?

I am the proud mother of my two-year-old Joan and six-week-old Kai, so there isn’t any extra time in my life at the moment. However in a past life I was an avid video gamer and audio book consumer.

What instrument would you most like to learn?

I’ve always thought that if I had the chance to go back in time and pick a second instrument when I was a kid, I would play the cello. I love the richness and versatility of the instrument. The reason I chose the clarinet was because I was determined to play in jazz band. I knew I could play clarinet in orchestra and double on the saxophone in jazz band which is what I did!

What’s your favorite contemporary clarinet technique?

My favorite contemporary technique on the clarinet is playing dyads. The physics of two perfectly balanced pitches coming out of a woodwind instrument still blows me away to this day. In general my favorite contemporary techniques are all the amazing ways a prepared piano can sound.