Jason Alder is a clarinetist specializing in low clarinets and contemporary music
Dr. Jason Alder is a contemporary, improvising, and electronic musician. Originally hailing from the metro Detroit area, in 2006 he relocated to Amsterdam and has since based himself in Europe. An active clarinet-, bass clarinet-, and saxophonist, he keeps a busy international performance schedule as a soloist, improviser, chamber and session musician. In addition to his own projects, Jason is also regularly found performing with various orchestras, jazz ensembles, bands, theater groups, improvisers, and dancers throughout Europe and the United States.
Always seeming to find himself on the musical fringe, Jason is a specialist in new and contemporary music. He has been working closely with composers and has premiered many pieces solo, some written especially for him, or as part of an ensemble. Jason has premiered works from composers such as Christian Wolff, Stefan Prins, Louis Aguirre, André Douw, Francisco Castillo Trigueros, Andys Skordis, Thanos Chrysakis, Rodrigo Tascón, Yu Oda, and Thanasis Deligiannis, and in 2014 his Shadanga Duo with flutist Katalin Szanyi commissioned 7 new pieces from the Snow Mask composers group in Denmark for premieres in Århus. As well as chamber music, Jason has performed in many larger ensembles and orchestras, including Ostravska Banda International Chamber Orchestra, Insomnio Ensemble, Amsterdam Collage Ensemble, Camerata Terra Reno, The Pale Blue Dot Orchestra, Amadeus Orchestra, Orkest aan de Amstel, European Clarinet Ensemble, and European Bass Clarinet Ensemble. In 2018 Jason became the first person to play the contrabass clarinet in Cuba.
As an improviser he can be found playing in his electro-acoustic improvisation duo Sonido 13 with saxophonist Harry Cherrin; improvising film soundtracks with Magic Lantern Show Orchestra; exploring music as it relates to movement with members of the improvised dance and theater community such as the Mono Dance Collective; and often playing with other members of the improvised and experimental music scene such as Alex Ward and Tom Jackson, with whom he's recorded a CD of improvised clarinet trios, Dolan Jones, Renato Ferreira, Jacob Adler, Roberto Pianca, Luca Marini, Erçin Kaya, Noelle Casella, Caio Amon, Andrea Taeggi, Harald Austbø, Santiago Botero, Giacomo Lepri, and the Apocalypse Jazz Unit. Jason also works in cross-disciplinary and multimedia fields, and his new performance art project megalodon/na won the Lyrik Live prize from the Austrian radio Ö1.
Jason also plays in a variety of jazz, world, and popular music bands. Performing as a member of the "psychedelic klezmer-jazz" quartet Payazen!, praised as The World's Finest Buskers, has taken him to the Glastonbury Festival, Ferrara Buskers Festival, and on tours around Italy, the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech & Slovak Republics, and Israel, as well as into the studio for 3 CD releases. As a saxophonist he plays baritone in the afrobeat band JORO, and tenor in the indie-rock bands The Lazlo Device and The Palumbo Phunk. He has also previously played with many other bands including the Bengali-jazz fusion band of singer Shapla Salique, Novack, Matuki, Eclectomatic Big Band/LUNAR Orchestra, and the Basie Millers. As a session musician, Jason has recorded clarinet and baritone saxophone for the CD of the Balkan-jazz orchestra Mimika, clarinets for CDs from Dutch artists Canvas Blanco, Wouter Seinen, and RaaskalBOMfukkerz, and is featured on the soundtrack for the short animation “Beren op de Weg” by Nadia Meezen which has been screened at festivals around the world. Past projects include playing bass guitar, saxophones, clarinets, or electronics in various bands including Exchange Bureau, June Ruin, the Toobnoodles, and Spinfist.
Having grown up around the theater, Jason continues to be seen playing for stage performances. He plays in pit orchestras as a woodwind doubler, guitar- or bass guitarist for musical theater shows, with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, and toured with Grammy and Tony award winner Idina Menzel and Rob Mounsey on her World Tour. In addition he has also been involved in the creation and (sometimes onstage) performance of original music for new works, such as Guys on Ice, Storm, Moeder Blues, and Pillowman which played as part of the ITs Festival Amsterdam.
As an electronic musician, Jason works in various genres of electronic and electro-acoustic music. In 2010 he reconstructed Stockhausen's 1966 piece "Solo" for melody instrument and feedback to be played with only a computer performing the roles of at least 6 people that were originally required, for which this performance was written about in Harry Sparnaay's book. He also worked with composer Robert Ratcliffe to develop software to expand on the realization of his electro-acoustic piece "Wake Up Call", which resulted in a paper published in the journal Sonic Ideas. He's written his own piece for bass clarinet and electronics, "A'd amssong" and as a member of the collective TransformersDetroit has worked with hip-hop producer Das and produced his own acid, techno, and noise tracks.
An alumnus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts summer programs, he holds Bachelor of Music degrees from the classical departments of both Michigan State University (US- Clarinet Performance), and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (NL- Bass Clarinet Performance), and a Master of Music from the jazz department of the Artez Conservatorium (NL), where he followed the "New Dutch Swing" program of creative improvisation. Jason received his PhD from the Royal Northern College of Music (UK) where he researched the contrabass clarinet. He has also directed a significant amount of his studies towards computer/electronic music, ethnomusicology, and audio engineering. His teachers and instructors have included Richard Alder, Richard Hawkins, Kimberly Cole, Andrew Harwood, Frank Ell, Erik van Deuren, Yaniv Nachum, Michael Lowenstern, David Krakauer, Ernesto Molinari, Frank Gratkowski, Claudio Puntin, Wilbert de Joode, and Michael Vatcher. He also studied electronic and computer music with Mark Sullivan, live electronics and Max/MSP with Jos Zwaanenburg, as well as post graduate study in the application of South Indian Karnatic music rhythmic principles to contemporary Western classical and jazz music (Contemporary Music and Improvisation through Non-Western Techniques) with Jos Zwaanenburg and Rafael Reina. In 2012 Jason travelled to India to further this study with guru B.C. Manjunath.
Jason has performed in such internationally recognized venues as the Berliner Philharmonie, Het Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw, the BIMhuis, the Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen, and Cadogan Hall. He has also performed in many festivals including the Gaudeamus Muziekweek contemporary music festival in the Netherlands, Internationale Saxofoonweeks and Blue Clarinet Day in Amsterdam, Ultima Contemporary Music Festival in Oslo, Havana Festival of Contemporary Music, International Festival for Innovations in Music Production and Composition in Leeds, UK SABRe Bass Clarinet Day, Istanbul Woodwind Festival, and regularly at both the International and European Clarinet Associations' annual clarinet festivals. In 2009 he attended the IMPULS International Ensemble- and Composers-Academy for Contemporary Music in Austria where he worked with members of Klangforum Wien, as well as premiering three pieces in the groundbreaking MELE (Motion Enabled Live Electronics) concert, and in 2013 he performed and lectured at the Week of Contemporary Music at the Royal Conservatory in Gent.
Jason has authored two quarter-tone, extended range fingering charts for both clarinet and bass clarinet which are currently being used by some of the leading new music clarinetists for their own and pedagogical reference. In addition to teaching clarinet and saxophone lessons, Jason has started a series of video lessons as well as giving workshops in Advanced Rhythm, and workshops on non-idiomatic improvisation with Sonido 13.
An active member of the International Clarinet Association, Jason is on the New Music Committee, and formerly the Editor of The Clarinet [Online], the web supplement to the print journal.
Jason is also a skilled recording engineer and editor, and operates a small recording business, N&K Music and Audio, out of the Detroit, Amsterdam, and London areas. Beginning his training working in the Recording Services department while studying at MSU, he has over 15 years of experience specializing in live concert and solo to mid-sized ensemble studio recordings. He has engineered recordings for numerous solo, chamber ensemble, band, orchestra, and choral events in southeast Michigan and Amsterdam, as well as his own classical and stage band recordings.
Jason is an artist for Selmer clarinets, D'Addario reeds, Behn mouthpieces, Silverstein ligatures, Fiberreed synthetic reeds, and Viga Music Tools instrument microphones.
As a clarinetist with a passion for new music, Jason is available for:
Solo clarinet, bass clarinet, and contrabass clarinet performances
Ensemble and collaborative work
Work with electronics- Max/MSP, Ableton Live, DAW, etc.
Multi-disciplinary projects- dance, theater, video etc.
Jason is also available for freelance clarinet and saxophone work.
Jazz / Big Band
Musical Theater (also doubling flute when necessary)
C, B♭, A, & G Sopranos
F Basset Horn
E♭ Alto to low D
B♭ Bass to low C
EE♭ Contra-alto to low D
BB♭ Contrabass to low C
C & B♭ Sopranos
E♭ Baritone to low A
Concert with B foot
OPEN CALL FOR SCORES
In my devotion to the performance of new works, I maintain an ongoing Open Call for Scores. I will gladly accept scores from any composer, of any age and nationality. I cannot guarantee when or if it will be performed, but I will read through everything sent to me. Please also let me know of any previous or planned performances, or if it is a brand new work. I cannot promise any money for submitted scores, but will endeavor to generate money for selected works when possible. Please submit scores and any related materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Open Call is for solo works for any clarinet listed below. Addition of electronics is also possible. Works for flute and clarinet are also accepted as part of Shadanga Duo’s call for scores. If you wish to write an ensemble piece for a different setting, please contact me.
PREFERENCE IS CURRENTLY FOR WORKS FOR CONTRABASS CLARINET RELATED TO MY RESEARCH.
Clarinets- E♭ Sopranino; C, B♭, A, G Sopranos; F Basset Horn; E♭ Alto; B♭ Bass; EE♭ Contra-alto; BB♭ Contrabass
Electronics- Fixed media or live electronics, up to 8 channel speakers (For logistical reasons, any multichannel work should also be able to run in stereo). Live electronics should be for up to 2 channels of microphones, autonomous (not requiring a technician beyond normal PA duties), and must be able to run on a Macbook Pro or iPad. Software includes Max/MSP, SuperCollider, Ableton Live, Logic, ProTools, and Reaper. If you use something else, wish to involve MIDI controllers, or have any other questions about the electronics, contact to discuss the possibilities.
For a complete list of previous projects and CV information, please see my LinkedIn profile.
The Shadanga Duo is formed of flutist Katalin Szanyi and clarinetist Jason Alder. The duo focuses on the performance of contemporary works, particularly those with complex rhythms, microtonality, and extended techniques. The name Shadanga is a Sanskrit word meaning "six limbs", and in the Karnatic music of South India refers to a structure of the tala system of time keeping. Within the context of Indian art, the six limbs of Shadanga have been translated as: Rupabheda- The knowledge of appearances; Pramanam- Correct perception, measure and structure; Bhava- Action of feelings on forms; Lavanya Yojanam- Infusion of grace, artistic representation; Sadrisyam- Similitude; Varnikabhanga- Artistic manner of using the brush and colours. These concepts also reflect the musical vision of the Shadanga Duo.
JORO are a 10-piece afrobeat band from London who formed in early 2016. Comprised of a group of experienced musicians from different genres who share a love of afrobeat and afro-funk music. They mix the sounds of the legendary Fela Kuti with their own originals and modern afrobeat to produce music you can't help but dance to.
Sonido 13 is an electroacoustic improvisation duo with saxophonist Harry Cherrin. Utilizing a rich classical background and training combined with an unbridled sense of exploration and freedom, spontaneous pieces of chamber music and richly textured and surreal soundscapes are created and explored. Pushing the edge of what is musically possible, multiphonic chords melt together to create complex harmonies, microtonal melodies intertwine and clash, instruments are played in unconventional manners, and the incorporation of electronics infinitely expands the sonic palette. Sonido 13 is frequently collaborating with some of Amsterdam and Europe's most adventurous improvisers to create one-of-a-kind experiences at every performance.