Clarinet & Bass Clarinet
Tony Striplen plays bass clarinet and clarinet with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Originally from California’s dusty southern San Joaquin Valley, Tony grew up surrounded by an eclectic mix of country western music and traditional songs of Mexico. One day, a visit from a Great Aunt brought a clarinet into the Striplen family home. Tony learned to play popular songs on it by ear at 8 years old. At 10 years of age Tony began clarinet lessons at his public elementary school followed by private lessons. Tony owes much of his fundamental study to this private teacher, with whom he is still in touch to this day.
Arriving in San Francisco for further clarinet study, Tony’s eyes were opened to the vibrant world of possibility that has always been San Francisco. The world of opera opened when Tony was asked to tour with Western Opera Theater, the touring arm of San Francisco Opera. His experience with Western Opera, travelling on a bus performing in different cities across the United States night after night, is what sparked the opera bug in Tony. Tony met his future wife, Pam, on a Western Opera tour. Thirty-three years and thousands of opera performances later, Tony and Pam and their son, Matt, have innumerable stories about opera life! Tony is in his 20th season with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.
Tony is an avid photographer, runner, road-tripper, hiker, pizza aficionado, bourbon imbiber, and film-noir fan, but not always in that order.