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.
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 also a dedicated and passionate performer of Klezmer and Eastern European 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, and the Washington DC-based band Machaya. As life has pulled him in other directions, he has not been performing as much Klezmer music lately, and he misses it very much!
Bass Clarinet Quartet
EDMUND WELLES: THE BASS CLARINET QUARTET is the world’s only original, composing band of four bass clarinetists. Since 1996, Cornelius Boots has led and composed for Edmund Welles. Drawing virtuosic precision from the classical realm; innovation and texture from jazz; and power, rhythm and overall perspective from rock and metal, the quartet’s sound is characterized by a thickness of tone, a density of texture, absolute rhythmic precision, and the extreme use of dynamic contrasts: a dense, pulsing sound capable of expressing and reflecting the full range of human emotions.
music director for dance productions
Jonathan has worked as Music Director on four dance productions with choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton. He oversaw 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
Specializing in new works
Jonathan specializes in conducting new works by himself and other living composers, as well as contemporary classics and the occasional “standard” repertoire. He has conducted many premieres of works by student and emerging composers, and was for many years the primary conductor of student composer orchestra reading sessions at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The most rewarding part of conducting for him is working with composers to realize their musical vision. He strives to be open and responsive to composers’ requests and needs, a true partner in bringing their work to life.