Friday, April 24, 2015

Thank you TTU, Tara Winds, and Kennesaw State!

Many thanks to all the lovely people we met and worked with on our recent visit to Tennessee Tech University and Kennesaw State University, with the Tara Winds Clarinet Choir. Thanks especially to Wonkak Kim and his wife Grace for being extremely generous hosts to us in Tennessee; to John Warren for hosting our concert at Kennesaw State; to Andrea Strauss and Dickson Grimes for doing such fine work leading the Tara Winds Clarinet Choir; and to Jim Benson for spearheading much of the initial organizing of the Tara Winds concert and for hosting us for a night in Georgia. And a hearty thank you of course to all the wonderful students we got to work with, and all the enthusiastic audience members who came to hear us play. Hope to be back again soon!

Friday, March 20, 2015

After many months of hibernation, Sqwonk is about to come out of hiding, welcoming spring with a bevy of appearances in April.

We'll be kicking things off with a performance at the San Carlos Library on April 11th, as part of their Eclectic Music Festival.

Then a few days later we head down to Tennessee where we are very excited to be in residence at Tennessee Tech University for their "Clarinet Day" (really several days) on April 17 and 18. We'll be doing some workshops with the students, performing some classic Sqwonk repertoire, and also playing Jon's Bass Clarinet Double Concerto with Professor Wonkak Kim's clarinet studio. It will be our first time in the Southeast, and we're very much looking forward to it.

Then on April 19th, we pop down to Georgia for another performance of Jon's Bass Clarinet Double Concerto with the Tara Winds Clarinet Choir. Tara Winds have given some excellent performances of several of Jon's other clarinet ensemble compositions, and Sqwonk is delighted to get to perform with them. has more info and helpful links for each of these appearances.

Finally, please enjoy an aural depiction of Sqwonk's impending emergence from hibernation in Jon's composition, ...and the Beast.

Hope to see some of our friends and fans this April!

Love always,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Kickstarter Campaign is underway!

Help us raise funds for our next CD, Sqwonk+, which features us collaborating with six of our favorite Bay Area ensembles and artists.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New videos posted

We've got three new videos just posted to youtube from our show at the Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley, CA, last January.

The first videos yet of Jon Russell's entire ...and the Beast... suite and Cornelius Boots' Sojourn of the Face, as well as yet another version of Marc Mellits' Black. Enjoy!




Monday, August 6, 2012

Thank you!

Many thanks to all of you who came out to our ClarinetFest performances last week in Lincoln, NE. We had a wonderful time playing for you, seeing some old friends, and meeting some new fans. Thanks so much for your support!

For those who missed it, here’s a quick recap:

On Thursday, August 2, we had the honor of performing as part of an all-star bass clarinet nonet with Karel Dohnal, Steve Hanusofski, Lee Livengood, Michael Lowenstern, Dennis Smylie, Stephan Vermeersch, and Gary Whitman. It was such a pleasure for us to work with this fine group of bass clarinetists, many of whom we have long admired from afar. The nonet performed two premieres: Sqwonk’s own Jonathan Russell’s Supra, and French composer Ghislain Hervet’s Headwinds, with David Krakauer as Bb Clarinet soloist. Krakauer tore it up as he always does, and both pieces went over very well with the enthusiastic audience.

Here we are rehearsing with David Krakauer and Ghislain Hervet conducting (Sauro Berti sitting in for Michael Lowenstern, who was getting ready for his own set that night).

Then on Friday, August 3, we performed two of our classics at the 1pm concert: Ryan Brown’s KNEE GAS (ON) and our arrangement of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. We were very happy that Ryan could be there in the audience to be acknowledged. Bach was unfortunately unable to make it.

Finally, it all culminated in our performance Friday night of Jonathan Russell’s Bass Clarinet Double Concerto in a new arrangement for band. It was an honor to be featured on a concert alongside Robert Spring and some of the top clarinetists in the nation’s military bands, and it was absolutely thrilling to be up on stage at the Lied Center in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, floating on the energetic playing of the Omaha Symphonic Winds, rocking the concerto. A truly unforgettable experience!

Here we are with the other soloists after our encores of Flight of the Bumblebee and Guisganderie.

Many many thanks are due to Diane Barger and her team for putting on a supremely well-organized festival, and for giving us such wonderful performing opportunities. Thanks again to everyone who came to see us, and we hope to see you all soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nebraska or bust!

Sqwonk heads to Lincoln, Nebraska next week for ClarinetFest2012. We're very excited to take part in this annual celebration of clarinet nerdity in all its diverse forms. And we're especially happy to get to be involved in three very different and uniquely awesome performances.

First, on Thursday evening (August 2), we'll be playing in two premieres for not one, not two, not four, not seven, not fifty-six, but NINE, that's right NINE bass clarinets! Sqwonk's own Jonathan Russell has composed a new piece for the nonet, inspired by Georgian folk music, called Supra, and French composer Ghislan Hervet has a new work called Headwinds, which in addition to the nonet, features classical/klezmer/everything virtuoso David Krakauer on solo Bb clarinet.

Then on Friday (August 3) afternoon at 1pm, we'll be doing a "solo" Sqwonk set on the "Horizons Highlights 5" concert. We'll perform two Sqwonk classics on this one: Ryan Brown's KNEE GAS (ON), and our arrangement of J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Finally, on Friday evening, we are very honored to be featured on the festival's concertos concert, which this year is all double concertos. We'll be performing Jonathan Russell's Bass Clarinet Double  Concerto with the Omaha Symphonic Winds in a brand new arrangement for wind band.

If you're coming to ClarinetFest, we hope you'll catch us at some or all of these performances. Please come say hi if you do!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"LOW REED" Friday, March 30

We are excited to perform with masters of the low reed Marty Walker and Jon Raskin on Friday, March 30th at the Royce Gallery as part of Pamela Z's ROOM series. We'll be doing a short set of just Sqwonk, and then joining forces with our low and reedy colleagues. Plus, Pamela Z will work her laptopping magic on us all. Should be a good time, hope to see some of our Bay Area fans there!