25 Jan 2011


The Hanson FSC-certified clarinet, the world’s first woodwind instrument of its kind, was unveiled yesterday at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Lynsey Marsh, principal clarinettist with the Halle, performed a number of solo pieces before a finale of Messager’s Solo de Concours with RNCM pianist Darius Battiwalla.

In April 2009, Hanson Clarinets became the world’s first FSC-certified woodwind instrument manufacturer and committed itself to producing environmentally and socially responsible clarinets from FSC-certified African blackwood. Less than one year later, the first instrument is on the market.

The Hanson FSC-certified Clarinet is a T6, English Bore grade professional standard instrument fitted with an EPDM pad system that is the most environmentally sustainable currently available.

Alastair Hanson, Hanson co-founder said: “We are proud to be making the world’s first FSC-certified woodwind instruments right here in Yorkshire. We buy our wood responsibly to help safeguard the hugely valuable natural resources of the tropical forests that provide the material needed to make clarinets. We want our customers to be able to know that the Clarinet hasn’t been made from illegal or unsustainable logging.”

Hanson are the largest clarinet manufacturer in the UK and the FSC instruments are made in their workshop in Marsden, West Yorkshire. Hanson Clarinets’ is FSC-certified under Oxford Timber Audits group certificate, FSC C007915.

Following Lynsey Marsh’s performance, students from the Royal Northern College of Music were invited to test the FSC clarinet for themselves. Hanson Co-founder, Alastair Hanson, received feedback from the students a number of different aspects of the instrument.

Carolyn Cossins, 2nd year Royal Northern College of Music undergraduate studying with Nick Cox, said: “My experience of playing the Hanson clarinet has opened my eyes to the possibilities of what can be done as a musician to help promote fair trade. I am very privileged to have been able to play this clarinet, I found it had a lovely warm sound that was free-blowing. I hope that lots of clarinettists will consider buying Hansons for both their quality and to help traders in under developed countries.”

Lucy Payne, 3rd year Royal Northern College of Music undergraduate studying with Linda Merrick and Chris Swann, said: “It was fantastic to play the first clarinet that realises a beautiful sound and a highly competitive prices, alongside responsible production.”

Belinda Gough, Head of Woodwind at Chetham’s School of Music, said: “The source of the woods used to make musical instruments is a current and active topic about which all our students at Chet’s should be aware.”

Mike Chandler, Chairman of Environment Africa Trust, which has funded the Sound & Fair campaign to develop the market for FSC-certified African blackwood, hosted the launch event and provided an introduction on the 15-year evolution of the FSC instrument.

Mike Chandler said: “The launch of this world-first FSC-certified Hanson clarinet marks the culmination of over 15 years of vision and hard work involving the forest-dependent people of Tanzania, who are amongst the world’s poorest communities. The wood in the clarinet has made a pioneering journey and it is immensely satisfying seeing the finished instrument the hands of celebrated musicians such as Lynsey Marsh.”

All photos © Craig Ritchie.


Watch BBC News video of the FSC clarinet

Geoffrey Lean – The Telegraph – Saturday 22 January 2011

Fauna and Flora International – Monday 24 January 2011

Forest Stewardship Council – Monday 24 January 2011