Freitag, 5 August 2016 | 20:00 | Böllenfalltorhalle

Clarinet Extended

Michael Pelzel: Gravity’s Rainbow (2015)
Jorge Sánchez-Chiong & TE-R: ZYT. Game for Clex Contrabass Clarinet, Electric Guitar, Turntables, amplified Orchestra & Projection (2016)
Sergej Newski: Rules of Love for soprano, alto and five instrumentalists (2012/13)

Ernesto Molinari (Clarinets)
Jorge Sánchez-Chiong (Turntables)

Martin Siewert (E-Guitar)

Truike van der Poel (Voice)

Emerald Lesley (Voice)

Krassimir Sterev (Accordion)

Ensemble Interface

Basel Sinfonietta
Duncan Ward (Musical Direction)
TE-R (Louise Linsenbolz & Thomas Wagensommerer) (Video)

Uli Kühn (Light)

The contrabass clarinet, developed as an orchestral instrument around 1900, has had a stellar solo career in New Music; this is due primarily to its enormous pitch range of up to five octaves and its interesting possibilities for producing high overblown notes. Despite numerous improvements, however, today’s contrabass clarinets still offer only the best available compromises. On the initiative of Ernesto Molinari, a team of researchers in Bern began radically reconceiving this low wind instrument in 2012. The goal: a sensory-dynamic contrabass clarinet. In an interdisciplinary research project with the instrument builders Jochen Seggelke and Martin Suter (Clarinet Solutions) as well as the engineer Daniel Debrunner, Ernesto Molinari went in search of an acoustically ideal form for the contrabass clarinet. Thanks to a spectacular new motor-driven key operation system, it was possible to place the pitch holes perfectly for an improvement of intonation and sonority. The keys are now operated via a mechatronic control system that also allows programming of the German and French fingering systems. In addition, the electronic recognition of finger positions also enables multimedia applications. Instead of expanding instrumental performance via sound processing and special effects, a completely new instrument has been built whose “system” can be reprogrammed and constructed anew by performers and composers: clarinet extended, abbreviated to CLEX.


At the Darmstadt Summer Course, Ernesto Molinari will now present the first prototype of this extended contrabass clarinet together with the Basel Sinfonietta. In the two solo concertos by Michael Pelzel and Jorge Sánchez-Chiong, the instrument will present a wealth of different facets.


Supported by Fondation Suisa and Pro Helvetia