Meet Your Professor: Jose Franch-Ballester, Assistant Professor of Clarinet and Chamber Music

Introduce yourself in 280 characters or less.

My name is Jose Franch-Ballester and I am Assistant Professor of Clarinet and Chamber Music. I also serve as the Woodwind Area Coordinator.



How would you describe your approach to teaching music? What do you enjoy the most about teaching?

My approach is to serve music and each student the best way I can. And one of the aspects that I enjoy the most about teaching is to provide all the specific personal, technical and musical tools that each student needs to achieve their short, medium and long term goals.

What courses are you teaching in 2020/21?

This year I will be teaching clarinet lessons and Chamber Music.

What can students expect during their private lessons with you?

I can tell you that there will be tons of exercises for tone development and refinement of the clarinet technique. We’ll spend lots of time on phrasing and ways to serve music the best way we can. But perhaps the most important aspect is that you’ll be learning is how to motivate yourselves into creating your own musical identity and a healthy musical lifestyle.

What do you love about your instrument? What drives you crazy about it?

My favourite aspect about the clarinet is the sound, since it is so close to the human voice.

And one of the things that drive me crazy about the clarinet is how we can achieve so many different voices with it, since clarinet is used in so many cultures and musical styles around the world — classical music, jazz, klezmer, balcan music, tango…you name it!


WATCH: Prof. Franch-Ballester performs Adagio e Tarantella by E. Cavallini with Jonathan Girard, piano


Describe one of your most memorable performances (good or bad!).

One of my most memorable performances happened last year, when I premiered a new clarinet concerto called “Leyendas” by Spanish composer Oscar Navarro.

He wrote this beautiful piece to be premiered at the Chan Centre with the UBC Symphony Orchestra, Masestro Jonathan Girard and me as a soloist and narrator!

A performance doesn’t start on the stage, it starts during its conception and preparation, and I have to say that this entire process was magical and unforgettable in many ways. That’s why I invite you to see the video of this premiere here.

What is your favourite piece of music/composer/musician?

Lots of times my students ask me what is my favourite piece of music and my answer is…whatever piece I am performing at the moment, or any piece that I am excited to perform anytime soon.

If you couldn’t play clarinet, what instrument would you like to play?

This is a tough question – I can’t imagine myself having to learn another instrument. Most probably I would use my musical knowledge to learn how to become a composer, conductor or music producer. But only if I couldn’t play the clarinet.

When you’re not practicing or teaching or performing, what are you most likely to be doing?

When I am not practicing I like spending time with friends. I love cooking and anything to do with food and coffee. I am an an avid photographer and I love watching Netflix shows!

Finally, what advice would you give students entering the BMus program this year? And for students thinking about the BMus program, what are your top three best reasons for studying music at UBC?

Be curious, observe as much as you can, be ready to sacrifice, be perseverant and keep feeding your passion. I can’t wait to see all of you and to help you embark into this new exciting and growing chapter of your lives!

For more information about Prof. Franch-Ballester, visit his faculty profile.