For the Love of Brahms

March 27, 2021 | 7 PM EDT

BFO Executive Director, Nicholas Brown, and pianist Ruoting Li play Brahms' romantic Sonata No. 2 for Clarinet and Piano in E-flat Major. Discover what makes this sonata so special and why it stands out in the repertoire. Alyssa and Nicholas invite you for a friendly discussion on the magic of Brahms and why clarinetists love his music. 


Brahms Sonata No. 2 for Clarinet and Piano in E-Flat Major

Nicholas Brown, clarinet

Ruoting Li, pianist

Alyssa Wang, host

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Ruoting Li

Chinese pianist Ruoting Li is an eclectic artist who is eager to explore a wide range of musical styles and repertoire, both as a solo pianist and chamber musician. Born in China, she began piano at the age of 6 and was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music Middle School in Beijing when she was 11. In 2014, Ms. Li came to the U.S. and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where she earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance. Ruoting has been involved in numerous activities, such as outreach concerts, music producing, and new music recording. She made her Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut in November of 2019, and her Stern Auditorium debut in March of 2020. 

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown is a clarinetist, educator, and administrator dedicated to versatility and interdisciplinarity. He is a member of the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and Phoenix, and has been a guest with such groups as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and more. He has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Pops and Symphony Nova, and will be featured on the Boston Festival Orchestra’s season opener in July 2021. As a chamber musician, Nicholas is Clarinetist with Boston-based new music ensemble, Hub New Music.

Committed to accessible music education, Nicholas works with students spanning all ages, experiences, and abilities. He serves as a clarinet instructor and band specialist at the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), in addition to teaching the students of Natick and Wayland Public Schools. He is a Neighborhood Artist with the Celebrity Series of Boston, and helped to curate a five-week artist residency with the Boston Music Project and Hub New Music in Fall 2020. Nicholas regularly gives lectures, workshops, and masterclasses at universities across the United States. His teachings aim to foster an encouraging musical environment, create conscientious artists, and emphasize marketable skills.

Outside of performing and teaching, Nicholas is Assistant Music Director of the Eliot Music Ensemble at NEMPAC. Nicholas earned degrees with honors from New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University under the tutelage of Thomas Martin and Ethan Sloane, respectively.

For more information about Nicholas, visit