Jens Thoben is professor for clarinet at Lübeck University of Music. His career began in 2001 when he was awarded 3rd prize at the International Carl Nielsen Competition and 1st prize, audience and orchestra prize at the International Carl Maria von Weber Competition at European Classical Music Festival Ruhr. Appearances as a soloist and chamber musician have taken him throughout Europe, the USA and Asia, and to festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and the Lucerne Festival. He has recorded for BR, NDR, WDR and Arte. 

Principal clarinetist of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg 2003-2014, his expertise compasses orchestral repertoire as much as solo repertoire and chamber music. He gives masterclasses in Germany and abroad, and performs as a soloist and in various chamber formations. With his post-genre sextet Hear Now Berlin, he is exploring the intersections of avant-garde, new music, improvisation, minimal music and pop.

Guest contracts as principal clarinetist connect him with leading German orchestras such as Bayerisches Staatsorchester München, Staatskapelle Dresden, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He works with conductors such as Kirill Petrenko, Joana Mallwitz, Omer Meir Wellber, Nil Venditti, Lahav Shani and Andrew Manze.

In addition to common concert formats, he is very much interested in alternative and cross-genre forms of performance. He appeared as an actor, clarinettist and singer in the four-person version of Henry Purcell’s semi-opera “King Arthur” by directing duo sweet.milk on stage of Staatsschauspiel Hannover, and was one of the performing musicians in Christoph Marthaler’s evening “Universe, Incomplete” about the composer Charles Ives at the Ruhrtriennale Bochum 2018, among other. 

Jens Thoben received his clarinet training with Reiner Wehle and Sabine Meyer in Lübeck, and was a scholarship holder of the Academy of Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. Other formative teachers were the clarinettist Eduard Brunner and, in the field of chamber music, Walter Levin, the primarius of the LaSalle Quartet.

As a teacher, Jens Thoben is very much interested in neurophysiological aspects of learning, mental training techniques and holistic and functional body-oriented approaches. He is a certified teacher of Lichtenberger® Applied Physiology of Voice. Among his students are winners of prestigious competitions such as the International Carl Nielsen Competition or Deutscher Musikwettbewerb.


Semperoper Dresden
German Opera Berlin
Bavarian State Opera Munich
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Frankfurt Museum Orchestra
Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne
Wind Ensemble Sabine Meyer
Trio di Clarone
Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Modern Art Ensemble Berlin
Zafraan Ensemble Berlin
Ensemble Resonanz