Bass Clarinet Duo
The San Francisco-based Sqwonk bass clarinet duo is a dynamic and adventurous ensemble that “pushes the envelope of what bass clarinet music can be” (Clarinet Magazine). Sqwonk is devoted to exploring the full expressive range of the bass clarinet, from deep resonances to raucous wails. While grounded in the classical tradition, Sqwonk’s music draws on a wide range of influences, from klezmer to heavy metal to blues to minimalism to free improvisation, creating a repertoire that is strikingly contemporary, yet broadly accessible to a wide audience.
Bass Clarinet Ensemble
Improbable Beasts is a Boston-based professional bass clarinet ensemble dedicated to bringing the deeply expressive power of multiple bass clarinets before a broad audience. Our repertoire ranges from Renaissance choral music to brand-new compositions to klezmer tunes and holiday songs. Our mission is to share the deep resonances, soaring lyricism, and propulsive grooves of bass clarinet ensemble music with as many people as we can. Formed just before the advent of the covid-19 pandemic, Improbable Beasts has yet to perform in public, but has created several “distanced” videos of works by Purcell, Marc Mellits, Jonathan Russell, and a holiday music medley.
Solo performance on clarinet and bass clarinet
“A real virtuoso with true command over his instrument’s range of expression” (San Mateo Daily Journal), Jonathan appears frequently as a clarinet and bass clarinet soloist in recital, chamber, orchestral, and wind band settings. Drawing on his wide range of experience in classical music, contemporary music, free improvisation, and klezmer music, he gives highly energized, detailed performances of both standard repertoire and new works. He frequently performs his own solo works and concertos, as well as premieres of works by other composers.
klezmer and eastern european folk music
Jonathan is a dedicated and passionate performer of Klezmer, Eastern European, and Balkan styles of music, in both traditional and experimental incarnations. For many years he was the clarinetist in the San Francisco Bay Area band Zoyres. He has also performed with the Bay Area band Adama, Yiddish singer Heather Klein, the Washington DC-based band Machaya, and Boston’s Hankus Netsky.
music director for dance productions
Jonathan has worked as Music Director on seven dance productions with choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton of Garrett + Moulton Productions. He has overseen all musical aspects of the productions, including finding repertoire; putting together a live instrumental ensemble; arranging, editing, and composing music as needed; and playing in and conducting the ensemble during the shows.
Photo: R J Muna