Clarinetist and conductor Charles West is a professor of music at VCU. He holds a B.A. in music education and a B.M. in performance from the University of Northern Colorado and an M.F.A. and D.M.A. from the University of Iowa. His teachers have included Himie Voxman, Robert Marcellus and Leon Russianoff. He has one of the largest clarinet discographies in American academia, with releases on the CRI, Wilson Audiophile, Klavier, Centaur and Crystal labels, and he is heard on a Grammy Award-winning 1993 Telarc release.

West has been a Fulbright scholar and both treasurer and president of the International Clarinet Association. His career has included 10 years as principal clarinet of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and 12 years as principal clarinet of the Flagstaff Festival Orchestra. He has held teaching positions at New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona, as well as guest professorships in South America, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. West has served as director of orchestral activities at VCU and conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, and is currently coordinator of winds and percussion and professor of clarinet at VCU. Additionally, he is a first-call doubler in Richmond and artist-clinician for the Buffet Crampon Corporation. West also serves as Conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville/Albermarle.