Pro-Music-News Wind-Instruments

Morrie Backun joins Conn-Selmer to lead Leblanc clarinet development

Morrie BackunMorrie Backun, globally respected instrument designers/technician, has accepted the position of director of product development for Leblanc professional clarinets. Considered a leading expert in the woodwind world, Morrie has worked with clients that include Ricardo Morales, David Shifrin, Eddie Daniels, James Campbell, Howard Klug, Sir James Galway, Sabine Meyer, Alessandro Carbonare, Wenzel Fuchs, Jessica Phillips, Larry Combs and players in orchestras throughout the world. As a professional clarinetist himself, he understands the rigorous demands that professional players and advanced students face. Along with this new association, Conn-Selmer has been named the exclusive distributor for Backun Woodwind Products in the U.S. Backun is well known among professional woodwind players for his custom clarinet mouthpieces, bells and barrels, as well as his custom tuning and body work of woodwind instruments.
“We are very pleased to have Morrie lead the efforts in developing our Leblanc professional clarinets,” stated John Stoner, president and CEO of Conn-Selmer, parent company of Leblanc. “The great traditions of Leblanc have always focused on achieving the finest in instrument design. With Morrie’s vast experience in producing the performance demanded by today’s greatest clarinet players, we are eagerly looking forward to his immediate impact and to advancing Leblanc professional clarinets to new heights.”
“I am delighted to have been asked by John Stoner to design a series of artist, professional and intermediatewooden clarinets for Leblanc,” Morrie stated. “We share a vision of revolutionizing the clarinet world and I look forward to working with the team at Conn-Selmer.”
Backun has received many accolades for his work in developing the clarinet sound. One such comment from Sabine Meyer, former principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic: “For us, Morrie Backun is the most wonderful surprise in the field of instrument making in many, many years. His perfection of the craft, unbelievable pieces of the rarest woods, and quest for the perfect sound has opened our eyes to the future of clarinet playing. We hope to creatively collaborate with Morrie for many years to come!”
The tradition of Leblanc clarinets traces its origins to the founding of Ets. D. Noblet of France in 1750, when the great flourishing of instrumental music at the court of Louis XV created a demand for musical instruments of all kinds. More than any other instrument manufacturer of the day, Noblet refined and developed early woodwind manufacturing techniques, securing his preeminent reputation for producing some of the best wind instruments in the world.
In 1904, the Noblet family passed its holdings to Georges Leblanc, descendant of a long line of distinguished French instrument makers. By the time he acquired Noblet, Georges Leblanc had gained a reputation as one of the finest woodwind makers in France. The workshop at the Leblanc headquarters in Paris became a meeting place of the great woodwind artists of the era. The subsequent growth and success of G. Leblanc Cie. as a manufacturing entity was largely due to the work of Léon Leblanc, who in addition to his reputation as an instrument maker and businessman, was also a gifted clarinetist, holder of the first prize of the Paris Conservatoire, the first and only instrument maker to have held such an honor.
As Léon Leblanc once noted, “Musicians of today should not be handicapped by the deficiencies of those before me. Acoustical, mechanical and musical improvements will be made. To this end, I have dedicated my life.”
“The continuation of the Leblanc tradition is an important responsibility,” said John Stoner. “Morrie Backun’s experience is an ideal next step in defining the new traditions of Leblanc and Conn-Selmer. We welcome Morrie to our team.”
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