Andy Firth is not only one of the finest clarinet and saxophone players on the music scene today, but he is also a gifted composer and dedicated educator. Wherever he performs, he leaves critics and fellow players gasping in awe of his ability to either dazzle with his blindingly fast, fluent technique or his soulful, beautiful tone. From his introduction to the clarinet at the age of 5, Andy has devoted his life to music, and is now recognised as not only one of Australia’s most accomplished performers and jazz educators, but also one of the finest jazz clarinet and saxophone players in the world today. Andy’s long list of achievements in teaching, performing, composition, arrangement, and studio recordings combined with the tributes of some of today’s most renowned musicians and educators are testimony to these high praises.
“I like people to know that whether it’s a big band or small group that I’ll do whatever I can to give them a world class show! I want my name to be associated with musical excellence and mind-blowing performances.” Andy Firth
2008: Andy is one of a very small number of Australian artists to have ever performed a concert under their own name at Carnegie Hall New York. On the evening of the 21st March 2008, Andy Firth played a concert billed as “Goodman & Beyond” to a standing ovation. Andy Firth’s guest artist for this special event was living legend and Andy’s clarinet mentor, Buddy DeFranco. A US rhythm section consisting of award winning artists, Gary Motley (piano), Paul Keller (bass) and Pete Siers (drums). The concert featured musical tributes to Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Buddy DeFranco, Eddie Daniels and Australian Jazz icon, Don Burrows.
“….A landmark Jazz performance took place with previously unknown Australian Clarinetist Andy Firth, who in a cheerfully informal way shocked and awed the audience with virtuosity found in players like Eddie Daniels. Similar in virtuosity, although different in style, his letup never quit during this concert, and as Buddy DeFranco said later on, Firth can do impossible things.” (Mike Getzan WKA).
2007: Andy appeared as a guest soloist at the “Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival” Montana USA with jazz clarinet legend Buddy DeFranco and the University of Montana Big Band.
2006: Received rave reviews and standing ovations for his performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Invited to perform “God Bless America” at Hamon’s Field Stadium Springfield Missouri to open the Springfield Cardinals baseball game followed by a live concert for the Springfield Phelps Society, now released as a cd called “Live in Swingfield.”
2006: Andy was honoured with the Australian Mo Award for “Best Jazz Instrumentalist.”
2003: New woodwind book series for Boosey & Hawkes publications, “Play clarinet/saxophone with Andy Firth” (See shop page).
2002: Invited to perform Artie Shaw’s Concerto for Clarinet with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Victor Morosco presented Andy with “The Fourths of Firth”, a suite for clarinet and strings with jazz overtones which is dedicated to Andy, and written specifically to introduce more contemporary jazz improvisation to the modern clarinet repertoire.
2001: Screen Music Award for composition, arranging and performances on VISA “Dining Out” advert.
2000: Andy receives rave reviews for his performances of the Artie Shaw “Concerto for Clarinet” with the Queensland regional youth orchestra under the direction of Maestro Tommy Tycho at the Brisbane Energex Festival 2000. This performance was repeated with the Griffith University Orchestra under the direction of Simone De Haan.
Andy releases a “World First” – 16 Clarinet Big Band CD, which to date, enjoys regular airplay on ABC FM classical and jazz programming.
Andy has gained a rapidly growing reputation as a composer, having composed two lively, latin inspired pieces,“Treacherous Tango” and “Tycho, Tycho, Tycho” (pron:teeko) written for Janet Webb – (principal flautist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) these released on her debut Cd “Tango & all that Jazz”, as well as completing a “Cuban Fantasy” for flute and piano also for Janet Webb.
1995: Andy’s reputation as arguably the most naturally gifted player since Benny Goodman, further enhanced by sensational performances in Germany, England, and the prestigious North Sea Festival in Holland. Andy was also a guest performer along with Diana Krall, Phil Nimmons and Ed Soph at Canada’s MusicFest in 1998 where he received standing ovations for his performances of Benny Goodman’s classic hit “Sing, Sing, Sing”.
Andy has performed with such jazz and blues legends as B.B. King, Buddy DeFranco, Ingrid Jensoon, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Steve Haughton, Tommy Banks, Steve Harlos, James Moody, Bud Shank, Don Lusher, Kenny Ball Jazz Band, Acker Bilk, Dutch College Swing Band, North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, Gary Motley, Paul Keller, Pete Seirs, Jay Hungerford, Ken Kehner, Joe Berger.
Australian Artists include Maestro Tommy Tycho, Anthony Warlow, Marina Prior, Tommy Emmanuel, George Golla, Ian Date, James Muller, Bob Barnard, Sarah Mc Kenzie, Liam Burrows, Julie Wilson, Don Burrows, James Morrison, John Morrison, Galapagos Duck, Jackie Love, Rob Guest, Julie Anthony, Kevin Hunt, Rolf Harris, Daryl Somers, Tony Gould Trio, Little Pattie, Graeme Bell, Tom Baker, Ed Wilson, Vince Jones, Jonathan Wade, Emma Pask, Ian Cooper, Peter Hooper, James Clark, The Society Syncopators, Rob Guest, Mike Nelson, John Foreman, Fiona Burnett and the late great Ricky May and Bobby Limb.
Andy has also performed with Australian and Internationational symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles as soloist.