Joseph Allard, born on December 31, 1910, in Lowell, Massachusetts, was a distinguished American saxophonist, clarinetist, and esteemed educator who left an indelible mark on the world of saxophone pedagogy. With his innovative approach to teaching and playing, Allard inspired and influenced generations of saxophonists and clarinetists, making him a true legend in the world of woodwind instruments.
Allard’s journey into music began at an early age, as he started playing the clarinet at the age of 11. In 1927, he moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School, where he honed his skills under the guidance of Daniel Bonade, a prominent clarinetist.
Throughout his performing career, Joe Allard worked with various renowned orchestras and ensembles, including the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and the CBS Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he played saxophone with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and worked as a session musician for film and television.
However, it was Allard’s contributions as an educator that truly cemented his legacy. He developed a unique approach to woodwind playing, focusing on the natural and relaxed use of the embouchure, tongue, and throat. This method, known as the Joe Allard Approach, emphasized the importance of creating an optimal environment for the reed to vibrate, thus producing a full, rich tone without excessive tension or effort.
Allard’s teaching career spanned over four decades, and he held positions at prestigious institutions such as the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He also taught privately, with his students including renowned musicians such as Michael Brecker, Eddie Daniels, Eric Dolphy, and Dave Liebman.
Joe Allard’s impact on the world of woodwind pedagogy cannot be overstated. His innovative methods and philosophies have shaped the way countless musicians approach their instruments and have contributed significantly to the development and evolution of saxophone and clarinet playing.
Allard passed away on May 3, 1991, leaving behind a rich legacy as an educator and performer. His contributions to the world of woodwind instruments continue to inspire and influence musicians, solidifying his place in history as a true pioneer in the field of saxophone and clarinet pedagogy.
Last updated 3/18/2023.