David Schorr, Music Director
Clarinet Quartet Project
I have played in clarinet quartets for over 30 years, now. I paid my way through college playing clarinet quartets on the street and in parks. My love of this ensemble is one of the reasons why I founded the Clarinet Institute. My goal, and I don't think it's too unreasonable.... is someday to have the clarinet quartet as accepted and popular as the string quartet.
I think that a well rehearsed clarinet quartet sounds better than any string quartet. The sound is richer and louder. The sonority of the ensemble is beautiful. The clarinet quartet is much better suited for music at weddings and parties than a string quartet. You can hear clarinets playing over the din of conversation at a party, whereas the sound of a string quartet quickly gets lost.
Most string quartets can be adapted to be played by clarinets. While there are hundreds of string quartets, there are only a handful of pieces written or arranged for a quartet of clarinets.
The problem is that clarinet players are few and far between.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of clarinet players out there.... Every year, our colleges and universities award thousands of music performance degrees to clarinetists. Typically, these clarinet players go out and try to find work. Well, you can do the math. A thousand new clarinet players and, well, how many clarinet jobs open each year?
Most clarinet players give up and get a career doing something else; stock brokers, plumbers, doctors, ditch diggers, lawyers.... The sad part is that these musicians, who at one time were practicing their art for hours every day, will simply put their instruments down and walk away. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard of colleagues who have gotten non-music jobs and felt they simply didn't have the time to play anymore.
The Clarinet Quartet Project is for students, professionals and amateurs and everybody in between. Clarinet quartet playing teaches students intonation and ensemble techniques necessary for orchestral playing. For everyone else, it's just plain FUN.
Start your own quartet
It's easy to start your own quartet. I've arranged some music to get you started. Now all you need to to find the other clarinetists.
Step 1: Get Other Musicians
Clarinet players are ubiquitous... that's a good word. They are everywhere. There's probably one living just around the corner from you. Click here to see a list of clarinet players looking to play in quartets or other ensembles
Step 2: Get Free Music
Below is a "starter kit" of music to get any clarinet quartet off the ground. It's all in pdf format and it's all free. Feel free to donate your own arrangements to the list. Click here to find out how.
Bach, J.S. - Fugue in G minor, BWV 578
Beethoven (1770 - 1827) - Piano Sonata, "Pathetique" 1st Mvmt.
Boyce, William (1711 - 1779) - 1st Movement of Symphony No. 1
Brahms, Johannes (1833 - 1897) - Hungarian Dance No. 5
Byrd, William - Fantasia No. 4
Corelli, Archangelo - Gigue from the Sonata Op. 5
Debussy, Claude - Golliwog's Cakewalk
Guami, Gioseffo (1542-1611) - Canzon
Haydn, Franz Josef (1732-1809) - Minuet from the String Quartet No. 1
Haydn, Franz Josef - String Quartet Op. 74, No. 1, 4th Movement
Joplin, Scott - The Strenuous Life
Mozart, W.A. - Serenade for Winds, K. 375 5th Movement, Finale
Mozart, W.A. - Sonata KV 381, Andante
Mozart, W.A. - Rondo from the String Quartet, K. 80
Rossini, Gioachino - Sonata a Quattro No. 1
Saint Saens (1835-1921) - Ave Verum Corpus
Strauss, Johann, Jr. - Tritsch Tratsch Polka
Taeggio, Rognoni (c. 1550-1624) - Brass Canzon No. 7
Weber, Carl Maria - Hunting Song from Der Freischütz
Step 3: Buy Music
The music listed above is great for getting started and doing your first concert. Here are some arrangements of longer, more virtuosic works. They're not free..... but they are not expensive either. Each one costs less than $10. Consider it a donation to the Quartet Project cause.....
Bach - Brandenbrug Concerto #3, 1st Movement
Kuhlau - Grand Quartet , Op. 103
Mozart - String Quartet K. 387, 1st Movement
Raff - String Quartet
Of course, there's tons more music listed for clarinet on this site. You can sit there all day and click and download, and click and download . . . Or you can pony up ten bucks and get the entire collection all on one professionally printed disk. You'll get the entire collection and it'll be all in one place . . . sorted and everything! There's also a lot of music on the disk that isn't available for free on this site. Find out more here.