I always feel like I have a limited amount of time with my bass clarinet students before they go off to college. Between a busy marching season, learning required pieces for auditions, and the generally packed life high schoolers, there isn't as much time as I'd like to play around with all the great solo literature out there.
This list isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list; it is certainly a little more “dead white guy” than I’d like it to be. Notably absent is music from my favorite bass clarinet player, Michael Lowenstern, the late jazz bass clarinetist, Eric Dolphy, and any female composers at all. If anyone wants to share more bass clarinet music that is both accessible and approachable to high school students, please send it my way. I would love to have more music in my library from composers of different backgrounds to share with the next generation of bass clarinetists. This is what is on my shelf.
These are 4 of the original bass clarinet works that I introduce to my advancing students with at least 4 years of instruction.
Bozza: Ballade, bass clarinet with piano; I love this piece for its combination of lyrical and rhythmic sections. Students must learn to push and pull tempi while playing this.
Daniel Dorff: In a Deep Funk, unaccompanied bass clarinet; This is a fun piece with a jazzy feel that frequently requires a low C extension.
Othmar Schoeck: Sonata, bass clarinet with piano; Although this piece has intimate interplay with a challenging piano part, it is a valuable piece of bass clarinet literature that I try to expose my students to, even in the absence of an accompanist.
Happy Bass Clarineting,