FSO clarinetist loves teaching in addition to performing

December 16, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – Jennifer Deudkoontod, the principal clarinetist for the Florence Symphony Orchestra, grew up listening to great music.

“I remember my dad playing his Miles Davis records, as well as Mancini and Coletrain,” Deudkoontod said. “He also loved great pianists – Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt. … Between the jazz and the classical lies my love of melody.”

When she was growing up, Deudkoontod says, she practiced four to eight hours a day.

“I devoured the greats and constantly searched for more music,” she said. “I also tried to learn as much as possible from every person I met in school. It is so enlightening to learn about others and implement their recommendations in real life, especially from my teachers! I learned so much, and I am grateful for our paths crossing, to help pave my current one.”

Besides playing in the Florence Symphony Orchestra, Deudkoontod is teaching orchestra in Columbia.

“My day-to-day life is teaching, practicing and enjoying being a mother,” she said.

“My experiences in college not only taught me how to engage better in the classroom, but it helped me to reinforce the ideas that I was able to accomplish, literally, anything I set my mind to. I had the most fantastic teachers – active performers and lecturers from around the world! They helped me realize how much I could truly enjoy my career, regardless of if it were teaching or performing – and now, I get to do both!

“Furthermore, I learned that sometimes ‘you just need a different doctor,’ and that just because it is recommended for you to go somewhere, test places for yourself, and listen to your gut – it will not steer you wrong,” she said.

Deudkoontod’s original career goals were to play cartoon music, forever, in a professional symphony, in Brazil.

“However, I have modified them slightly for now,” she said. “Until my kids are out of school, I’ll be teaching and performing. Later, I will go back to school, continue to teach and perform, most likely, in Brazil. I am obsessed with the ocean. It’s the Charleston in me.”

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