Formed in 2005 by Jeff Anderle and Jonathan Russell, Sqwonk has given numerous performances at a wide range of venues and events including San Francisco, New York and Washington DC. Sqwonk has received grants from the Northern California Composers Commissioning Program, Subito, the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a consequence of its mission to develop a new repertoire of bass clarinet duos, Sqwonk has commissioned and premiered works by some fifteen composers and still counting. In 2006, Sqwonk received a Faculty Development grant from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to fund its first CD, which was released in the fall of 2007. Its second CD, Black, was released in March 2010, and was funded through a grant from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
In July 2008, Sqwonk appeared as a guest performer at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute in North Adams, MA. In December 2008 at Washington D.C.'s Great Noise Ensemble, and made its New York City debut at Gallerie Icosahedron. In 2009, Sqwonk made its debut appearance at The Stone, New York's venerable experimental music venue, and led a master class at Princeton University.
Sqwonk is an affiliate of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
Clarinetist/bass clarinetist Jeff Anderle is currently enjoying an extremely diverse musical life. An exponent of contemporary classical music, Jeff is currently a member of the ADORNO Ensemble; the bi-coastal ensemble Redshift; Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet; and Sqwonk, a bass clarinet duo. In addition, he performs regularly with other cutting edge groups in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Magik*Magik Orchestra, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and the Del Sol String Quartet. Jeff is a co-founder of Switchboard Music, an organization dedicated to supporting music that fuses different genres and styles of music through it's annual marathon concert and other activities. Jeff received his M.M. from SFCM and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Music.
Composer and clarinetist Jonathan Russell is active in a wide variety of music, from classical to experimental to klezmer to church music. His work stretches the boundaries of contemporary classical music, opening it up to the sounds and attitudes of the other musical traditions surrounding it. An avid performer on clarinet and bass clarinet, Jonathan is a member of the heavy metal-inspired Edmund Welles bass clarinet quartet and the Balkan/klezmer/experimental band Zoyres. He also plays in, composes for, and is a founding member of the Sqwonk bass clarinet duo, and is a co-director of the annual Switchboard Music Festival. Jonathan received a B.A. in Music from Harvard University and an M.M. in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He will begin PhD studies in composition at Princeton University in the fall of 2010.