Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts
Event Detail
Sarah Watts & Antony Clare: SCAW Duo

Feeding the Beast: New Works for Bass & Contrabass Clarinet

Sunday 29 November, 7.30pm
Online Event

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Sarah Watts (bass & contrabass clarinets)
Antony Clare (piano)

Elizabeth Kelly Into the Depths
Annachiara Gedda Memoriale II
Tom Williams Weighed Down by Light
Thomas Whitcombe Undulating Depths
Miroslav Spasov Idiosyncrasies

Nottingham clarinetist Sarah Watts has become internationally recognised as one of the leading performers of low clarinets. This concert features new music written for her to perform on bass clarinet and the lowest, largest member of her clarinet collection – the contrabass clarinet – which she affectionately refers to as ‘the beast’.

The programme includes some of the first works she commissioned for ‘the beast’ by Midlands composers Elizabeth Kelly (University of Nottingham), Tom Williams (Coventry University), and Miroslav Spasov (Keele University), as well as works she selected from our international call for scores.



To see full line up, please visit the main festival page  Blue arrow linking to festival main page

About the artists (click to expand)

Sarah Watts outside with mountain background

Sarah Watts specialises in solo bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet. She teaches bass clarinet at RNCM and is Director of Performance at Sheffield University. Sarah’s publication ‘Spectral Immersions; A Comprehensive Guide to the Theory and Practice of Bass Clarinet Multiphonics’ has been recognised as the leading source in this field of contemporary techniques and she has released recordings for Clarinet Classics, Cuillin Sound and Hyperion Records. Her new solo contrabass clarinet CD was released in early 2020. She performs with rarescale, SCAW and Hard Rain Soloist ensemble. Sarah is an artist for Henri Selmer Paris, Vandoren Paris and Silverstein.

SCAW (Sarah Watts - bass clarinet and Antony Clare - piano) was formed in 2003 with the aim of promoting the repertoire for bass clarinet and piano in the UK and abroad whilst also attracting composers to write new works for the combination. SCAW have performed in many festivals, concert societies and broadcasts in the UK and abroad. Since its formation SCAW has premiered works by composers Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Dai Fujikura, Piers Hellawell, Iain Matheson, Elizabeth Winters, Dave Bennett Thomas, and William Sweeney, amongst others.

Anthony Clare photographed looking over a piano

Antony Clare is a teacher, performer and composer who was born and lives in Nottingham, UK. He read music at York University and has subsequently combined piano and clarinet teaching with a range of performing activities. He is one half of the duo SCAW (with Sarah Watts, bass clarinet/contra-bass clarinet), who have given many concerts and world premiere performances throughout the UK and abroad.

As a composer, Antony has (amongst other things) many crazy pieces for one or more bass clarinets to his name. His music has been performed in the UK, Europe and the USA.

About the composers (click to expand)

Photo of Annachiara Gedda

Annachiara Gedda (Turin 1986) studied composition at the Turin Conservatory with Giorgio Colombo Taccani and in 2015 took a Master’s Degree in composition cum laude. In 2019 she took a II Level Master’s Degree at the Milan Conservatory. She attended masterclasses with Bacalov, Corghi, Fedele, Furrer, Hosokawa, Jarrell, López López and Murail. Winner or special mention in several national and international composition competitions - among which the Tour Takemitsu Composition Award and the Valentino Bucchi prize - her works have been performed in Italy and abroad during various important music festivals such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Biennale di Venezia (IT), Gmem Festival les Musiques (FR). Some of her pieces have been published by Sconfinarte, Bèrben and Universal Edition.

Photo of Elizabeth KellyElizabeth Kelly is an American-British composer based in Nottingham, UK. Her music embraces a broad range of influences, running the gamut from ‘majestic Wagnerian lines aggressively punctuated’ (Boston Musical Intelligencer) to ‘rasping jazzy exploration’ (The Guardian). Her compositions have been performed throughout North America, the UK and Europe at top venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK and the Gaudeamus Festival in the Netherlands.

In 2019, Kelly’s opera, Losing Her Voice, premiered at Lakeside Arts with support from an Opera America/Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation ‘Discovery’ Grant and a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant. She has received further support and recognition for her work from PRS Foundation’s ‘Women Make Music’ and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Her work has been published by Donemus, and recordings of her work are available from NMC, Centaur Records and Cuillin Sound. Dr Kelly is an Associate Professor in Music Composition at the University of Nottingham where she co-curates the Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research (NottFAR) and NottNOISE new music series.

Portrait photo of Miroslav SpasovBritish/Canadian/Macedonian composer Miroslav Spasov writes instrumental and interactive electroacoustic music. He is a Professor of Composition and Creative Music Technology at Keele University. His works have been performed in festivals and solo concerts in Europe and North and South America. Among other awards, his composition Metaanthropos/Evolutio I for flute and electronics, won the first prize in the International Computer Music Competition Pierre Schaeffer (1999), and his orchestra piece à gauche, à droite, en haut was awarded an honorable mention in the 10e Concours International de Composition Musicale de Besancon (2000), France. Spasov’s recent creative interests interlink interactive music composition based on idiosyncratic interfaces and the application of chaotic attractors in realtime sound processing using his Attractors Library (2010-2020), a multi-platform collection of MaxMSP Externals.

Photo of Thomas WhitcombeThomas Whitcombe is a Welsh composer based out of Cardiff after studying at Bangor University for his Undergraduate and Master’s degrees. Thomas has recently been awarded ‘Best Student Composition or Arrangement’ at UniBrass 2020 for his piece ‘Y Mór yn y Nos’, alongside being selected to take part in Composition: Wales 2020 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. This culminated in a performance of his piece ‘that which lies in the mist’ in the Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff. Thomas has also had multiple works premiered at the Bangor Music Festival, as well as by various university and community ensembles. 

Photo of Tom WilliamsTom Williams has a doctorate in music composition from Boston University, and he also has music degrees from Huddersfield Polytechnic and Keele University. Throughout his career he has composed for both acoustic and electroacoustic music media. His music has been released on a number of record labels. His cello piece ‘Dart’ was shortlisted for a British Composer Award and he has won the Italian music medal ‘Città di Udine’. His music has been performed across the world including performances at ICMC, ACMA, SEAMUS, NYCEMF, Sonorities, Music+Sound, EMAS2019. He is an Associate Professor in Composition at Coventry University. 



Contrabass clarinetist Sarah Watts (Sheffield University) joins the first composers she commissioned to compose for her specially made Selmer contrabass clarinet – Tom Williams (Coventry University) and Elizabeth Kelly (University of Nottingham) to discuss their approaches to this unusual instrument – the lowest, largest member of the clarinet family.


blue sound wave