(May 28, 1924 – June 24, 1981) Played and taught in Israel, France and England. Ettlinger is considered a prominent classical clarinetist of his generation, and one of Israel’s notable instrumentalists. His musicianship and unique sound influenced the art of clarinet playing in Israel and Europe in the second half of the 20th century. Many clarinet soloists and orchestra players of different countries were among his students.
Ettlinger was born in 1924 in Munich, Germany, and immigrated with his family to Palestine in 1933. The family lived in Tel Aviv, where Ettlinger studied piano, and later on the clarinet. His main clarinet teacher was Tzvi Tsipin. Ettlinger continued his studies in the United States and France, where he studied with the clarinetist Louis Cahuzac. His composition teacher was the Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim.
Between 1947 and 1964, Ettlinger was first clarinetist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and played under conductors Zubin Mehta, Sergiu Celibidache, and Paul Paray among others. Ettlinger took part in forming some of Israel’s leading chamber ensembles, including the Tel Aviv Quartet, with which he performed and recorded until his death. With the Tel Aviv Quartet and with pianist Pnina Salzman, Ettlinger performed in some of the major festivals and cultural centers in the United States, South America, Europe, Australia and the Far East. He also appeared as conductor with the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Some of the prominent Israeli composers in his time wrote pieces for him, including the composers Tzvi Avni, Ben-Zion Orgad, Mordechai Seter and Josef Tal.
In 1964, Ettlinger moved to Paris, where he taught clarinet and studied composition with the compositor and conductor Nadia Boulanger. In 1966, he joined the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London as a professor of clarinet and conductor of the school’s symphony orchestra.
Yona Ettlinger died suddenly in London in 1981 of heart disease at the age of 57.