Patricia Cunningham serves as the principal clarinetist of the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra, a position she has held since 1985. She has also appeared as soloist three times with the Philharmonic, most recently this past May. Cunningham holds a Master of Music degree in Woodwind Performance from Boston University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Principal clarinet teachers were Ethan Sloane, Jack Graham, Karl Holvik and Steve Colton. Additional graduate work has been completed at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University, Central Connecticut State University, University of Hartford, University of Massachusetts, University of Iowa and the University of Miami. She has also performed with the Great Waters Festival Orchestra, New England Symphony Orchestra, Nashua Symphony Orchestra, Granite State Orchestra, the New England Wind Symphony and the North End (Boston) Marching Band.
As an educator, Cunningham was a band director in Iowa for five years before moving to New Hampshire. Since 1986, she has taught Instrumental Music in the Merrimack School District where she currently directs the High School Concert, Marching and Jazz Bands. These ensembles have received many top ratings at festivals over the years.
In 2014, the New Hampshire Band Directors’ Association honored her as “New Hampshire Band Director of the Year.” Merrimack High School recognized her as “Teacher of the Year” in 2011. Former students have also nominated Cunningham several times for “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” She has also been active as an adjudicator and clinician.
Cunningham served as Secretary of the Board for the Philharmonic from 1986-1994 during a time of great transition for the orchestra. She is a member of the International Clarinet Association, New Hampshire Music Educators’ Association, National Association for Music Education and the National Band Association.