One of my most popular works, the Bass Clarinet Double Concerto now exists in five versions: for two solo bass clarinets with chamber orchestra, symphonic band, clarinet choir, mixed chamber ensemble, or piano.
My basic idea for the Bass Clarinet Double Concerto was of Weber’s clarinet concertos meeting heavy metal. Both of these repertoires have been important influences on me. Due to my experience both with extensively practicing the Weber concertos and with being a fan and, via Edmund Welles, a performer of heavy metal, when it came to writing a bass clarinet double concerto it seemed logical (to me) to try to combine the heaviness and raw power of heavy metal with the dancing virtuosity and lyricism of Weber’s concertos. While the resulting piece doesn’t necessarily borrow explicitly from either heavy metal or Weber, the underlying spirit of the work – a mixture of heavy, driving grooves, virtuosically dancing lines, and tender lyricism – comes from the combination of these two sources. The piece was composed for my bass clarinet duo Sqwonk, and the original chamber orchestra version was premiered in December 2007 by Sqwonk and the San Francisco Composers’ Chamber Orchestra. Since then, all the different versions have been performed numerous times by a wide range of amateur and professional ensembles.