Patti Ferrell Carlson began her tenure as Principal Clarinetist of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 1978. She is a member of the Virginia Symphony Woodwind Quintet, the Virginia Chamber Players, and is Principal Clarinetist with the Virginia Opera. Active a s a recitalist and soloist, Ms. Carlson has been a guest artist with the Norfolk Chamber Consort, the Feldman Society, the International Clarinet Society, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Ms. Carlson is on the faculties of Old Dominion University, the College of William and Mary, Virginia Wesleyan College and Christopher Newport University. She earned the Bachelors and Masters degrees in Clarinet Performance (with honors) at the University of Michigan, and she has done graduate study at the Juilliard School. Her primary teachers include John Mohler, Fred Ormand, Elsa Ludwig Verdehr and Sidney Forrest.
Ms. Carlson is noted for being an "exceptionally skilled musician" with a " lovely and lyrical tone" (Virginia Gazette) which is "full and ripe" (Virginian-Pilot) and "a first class technique" (Daily Press). She is also credited for being a "sensitive player" who "phrases with the involvement of a singer" (Virginia-Pilot). Her artistry can be heard in solo and orchestral works with the Virginia Symphony in recordings on Albany Records, NPR Classics, Hampton Roads Classics and New World Records. Her performances have also been broadcast on Performance Today on NPR.