Rob Ault smiling to camera

Robert Ault


Robert Ault joined the company in 1994 and is the orchestra’s bass clarinettist.

When did you join?
I joined the company in 1994.

Favourite ENO opera?
Sat behind my bass clarinet, I’m at my happiest playing Wagner – Valkyrie, Twilight of the Gods, Tristan and Isolde, Parsifal. Of all the composers whose music we play, Wagner is the one that seems to have fully understood the importance of the bass clarinet, both within the sound of the orchestra and as a part of the drama.

Best ENO moment?
No one single moment, but all those moments of genius woodwind playing that I hear around me.

How did you start?
My father was an amateur clarinettist. The story has it that aged 7 I picked up his clarinet, blew down it and asked if I could have lessons. It’s more likely that I squeaked and squawked for a while, but I must have shown enthusiasm as I started lessons at school soon after that.

Passion outside of opera?
Family time and being of help to young clarinettists.

Career Highlights

He is Professor of Bass Clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and a visiting clarinet teacher at Eton College.

Rob’s enthusiasm for working with young clarinettists extends to his involvement with ENO Evolve.

Rob is a graduate of the Royal College of Music where he studied with John McCaw and Colin Bradbury.

As a post-graduate Rob studied with Angela Malsbury at the Royal Academy of Music and on completion of his studies he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence.

In 2010 Rob became an Associate of the RAM.

Before joining ENO Rob was a member of the Northern Sinfonia, and over the years he has played with the majority of the UK’s orchestras and ensembles.

Last updated: 5th January 2024