© Nicholas Shipman


New commission

New work by Dutch composer Adriaan de Wit written for Nick Shipman and Stefan Hofkes for clarinet and piano. Mr de Wit was in the audience at a recital Nick and Stefan gave in the Netherlands and was inspired to write this piece for them. It has just been completed and is a very haunting work based the poem "I Saw His Round Mouth's Crimson" by Wilfred Owen. The premiere of this work will take place in 2017, exact details to follow.

New recording

In April 2016 Nick and Stefan recorded the Brahms Sonata Op 120 no 2 in E flat major to accompany the Brahms Clarinet Quintet Nick recorded live in concert with the Ad Libitum Quartet of Romania in the Muziek in de Maartenskerk International Chamber Music Festival. More details to follow.


New recording is now available to purchse on Amazon.


After several months in production the recording of the 'New York Counterpoint' is now finally here! It has been a painstaking operation to record and master all the multi-track layers with this complex project. The main works are Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint and Gavin Bryars' Three Elegies, Olivier Messiaen's Abîme des Oiseaux, Igor Stravinsky's Three Pieces, a version of Philip Glass' Mishima and Clockwork Toys by Kate Romano.

New commission

World Premiere of new work for solo clarinet by Graham Fitkin written specially for Nick and kindly sponsored by the Blue Coat Foundation.
The concert is on Steve Reich's birthday, 3rd October, and is a tribute to the great American Minimalist.

3rd October at 7.30pm
School Hall, Queen Anne's School, Henley Road, Caversham, Reading, Berks RG4 6DX

Steve Reich - New York Counterpoint for solo clarinet with pre-recorded clarinets and bass clarinets
Steve Reich - Clapping Music*
Graham Fitkin - Soft Wac*
Graham Fitkin - The Cone Gatherer for solo piano
Graham Fitkin - Switching for solo clarinet with pre-recorded clarinets and bass clarinets

Nick Shipman - Clarinet
*Graham Fitkin - Piano, Clapping
*Ruth Wall - Clapping

New programme from the Woodstock Ensemble

'The Soldier's Tale'

The perennial themes of this programme are those of temptation, the battle of good versus evil, and love, with its seduction and rejection.
The Woodstock Ensemble takes the listener on a musical journey, based upon Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale in the composer's own 'Suite' for violin, clarinet and piano which they interweave with the other works encountered on this journey.
Along the way we meet some members of the Commedia Dell'Arte (Harlequin, Pierrot and Columbine) in Thea Musgrave's trio Pierrot for violin, clarinet and piano. Each instrument takes on one of the characters from the traditional Pierrot-Columbine-Harlequin tale: the violin represents the lonely, introspective Pierrot, the clarinet is flighty Columbine and the piano is spirited, irrepressible Harlequin.
We also wander past a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals, with poems written by Dominic Lopez-Real for each of the animals we meet in the carnival.
The musical items are all linked together with expert narration by circus performer and juggler Mr Rod Laver which brings both story-lines and music vividly to life.
There is something in this show for everyone, from young to old.
This is a flexible programme and can be lengthened; there are several other works which can be inserted seamlessly, or shortened as required.
Please click here for sample video.

The Main works
Stravinsky - The Soldier’s Tale Suite
Thea Musgrave - Pierrot
Saint-Saëns - Carnival of the Animals

The Woodstock Ensemble
Eloisa-Fleur Thom, violin
Nick Shipman, clarinet
You-Chiung Lin & Stefan Hofkes, piano
Rod Laver, narrator & circus artist

New recital programme

'A Night at the Opera'

Nick Shipman, clarinet
Stefan Hofkes, piano

With the clarinet being seen historically as the instrument most like the human voice, and opera composers so often using it prominently in their works to compliment the vocal lines, it seemed a natural and obvious choice to design a programme inspired by opera.
We have played many of the works on this new programme separately but this is the first time we have put them together to create a whole programme exclusively centred on operatic themes. There was a trend, particularly in the late nineteenth century, for composers to take the themes from well-known operas and create a fantasy, or virtuosic work, based upon them with often florid passage-work interweaved over and around the famous melodic lines.
There are three examples of this in the 'A Night at the Opera' programme. The Tosca and Cavalleria Rusticana Fantasies by Carlo Della Giacoma and the Carmen Fantasy by François Borne, originally written for the flute but arranged here for clarinet, all of which show expert use of the material in very different, but very successful and entertaining ways. Rossini's Introduction, Theme and Variations, an early work written while he was still a teenager, whilst not officially based on any opera, is so truly operatic in nature and feel that we couldn't resist giving it a place here. The young Rossini gives us a glimpse of what is to come in his later works and it is possible to hear some classic Rossini charm, wit and exuberance which wouldn't be out of place in any of the great operas he went on to compose.
There are also arrangements of operatic works by Mozart, Wagner and Gershwin which display how versatile and expressive the clarinet's voice can be.

Mozart - 'Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio'
Rossini - Introduction, Theme and Variations
Puccini/Della Giacoma - Tosca Fantasy
Wagner - Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Mascagni/Della Giacoma - Cavalleria Rusticana Fantasy
Bizet - Intermezzo from Carmen for piano solo
Bizet/Borne/Shipman - Carmen Fantasy
Gershwin - Selection from Porgy and Bess