A Brief History of Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet

As I became infatuated with the sound and possibilities of the bass clarinet back in 1995, a timeline unfolded that we have a good perspective on now as another Era draws to a close on September 12 in San Francisco.  The following brief outline centers on the existence of a “heavy chamber music” bass clarinet quartet, known as Edmund Welles.

Edmund Welles in Berkeley January 20101996-1999
Inspirational Era includes the earliest compositions and arrangements and one performance, alongside the existence of The Cornelius Boots Trio, the robot bass clarinet and Faun Tumnus

2000-2002
Pre-Classic Era includes magnesium, the songs thereof (some of which became core EW pieces), and several failed attempts to recruit qualified bass clarinetists in Chicago and Eugene

2003-2005
Early Classic Era includes the first Bay Area performances and personnel, as well as the core compositions and the release of Agrippa’s 3 Books

2006-2011
Classic Era includes the primary activity both locally and regionally, the release of Tooth & Claw and Imagination LostSwitchboard and Clarinetfest appearances; shows with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Faun Fables and others; and the emergence of interrelated bands/projects Simulacra and Sqwonk.

2012-2014
Late Classic Era
 includes the release of Hymns for Christmas, the international debut of the group in Assisi, Italy and the bass clarinet-a-palooza concert in San Francisco.

For more information, visit edmundwelles.com.

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