Clarinet Trio

  • Clarinet Trio
  • Clarinet Trio
  • Clarinet Trio



also available for clarinet, violin and piano


8 minutes



Program Notes

I spent the summer of 2004 in Paris. Paris is my favorite city. I have spent several summers there, composing and drinking in her essence. It is the perfect city for a lover of life.

In 2004 I had an unusually productive summer there. I transcribed my piano sonata for a quintet. I composed and arranged eight jazz octets for a concert that fall. I wrote a Rhapsody for cello and piano. I spent two weeks training around Europe. And I wrote this trio.

Originally I was to compose a cello and piano work for a 2005 New York concert. I finished my other projects and was awaiting finalization of the commission. I decided to begin anyway, to at least get it started before I left Paris. In two weeks it was done, a Rhapsody for cello and piano. Just as it was completed I received word that the concert was happening and the commission was set. The only change was that I was to write a trio instead of a duet!

Once again, as with the Rhapsody, I began the trio hoping to at least get started before I returned to Virginia in the fall. I began by imagining brothers Ricardo and Jesús Morales, the clarinetist and cellist for the premiere, laughing and playing together as young children. So the composition begins with the brothers playing, tossing a triplet melody back and forth.

Once I began, the piece flowed from my mechanical pencil (a Twist-Erase from Pentel, .09mm lead) as fast as I could write. I wrote in my studio on the Seine. I wrote sitting in a green metal chair in Place des Vosges. I wrote sipping café crème at the Cafe Sorbonne. And before I knew it the composition was completed.

The trio is a happy playful piece. The clarinet and cello are frequently paired, frolicking as only brothers can. The piano holds them together, interjecting his own thoughts as well as introducing the lyrical middle section. There are a few main ideas that get tossed around and developed before the composition ends as it began, with the brothers tossing the triplet melody back and forth.

The primary inspiration for this piece came from the remarkable virtuosity and musicianship of the performers for whom I was writing. Ricardo and Jesús Morales, as well as pianist David Riley, are some of the best musicians I know. Writing for such fine musicians for a New York City premiere is all a composer could ask for.

This trio was commissioned for Ricardo Morales, Jesús Morales and David Riley by the University of Oregon School of Music for a 2005 performance at Merkin Concert Hall in New York.


Clarinet, cello and piano


Clarinet, violin and piano


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