Double Dog Dare



For solo unaccompanied clarinet

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Double Dog Dare
by James M. Stephenson

Premiered by Steve Cohen on October 16, 2019 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with Kay Kim on piano.

for solo unaccompanied clarinet
Duration: 5′


Program Notes – by the composer —

I was deeply honored when – after having performed my clarinet sonata – Steve Cohen asked me if I would consider something for solo unaccompanied clarinet. In a sense, it was a nice full-circle moment, given that one of my first works ever composed was an unaccompanied clarinet piece entitled Etude Caprice. That piece had been written just on a whim, when I was just a hobbyist of a composer. Now doing it full-time, I was delighted to receive the request, which was further enhanced by the fact that the request was coming from someone of Steve’s stature.

When discussing how to set up the commission, I mentioned the idea to him of getting others involved, something I had done on several other occasions, and a method by which many others can take part in the process, and subsequently be invested in its outcome. This sense of community has always been a high priority for me in my compositional life. And thus, Double Dog Dare was born. I wanted to write apiece that was both mysterious and technically exciting all at once. A piece that could be interpreted many different ways, so that each individual might bring something new to the experience. The title does not have much to do with the music, other than the idea that the player could/might (dare to) add as much intensity and agitated atmosphere into the work. This should almost be an effort to scare the audience, and keep them on the edge of their seat, in anticipation of whatever might come next.

Jim Stephenson; May 8, 2019

I am sincerely thankful to Steve, and to those listed below, who contributed to the creation of this new work:

Elizabeth Aleksander               Roger Garrett                     Celeste Markey
Scott Anderson                          Lucas Gianini                     Elizabeth Matera
Dr. J. Blake Arrington             Tammy Gibson                   Carol Mavrakis
Paul Bambach                           Salva Contreras Gila          Mike Medley
Lori Baruth                                Eric L. Ginsberg                  Karrin Meffert-Nelson
David Bell Soo Goh                  Osiris J. Molina                   Babette Belter
Patrick Graham                        Christopher Nichols            Ani Berberian
Edward Gray                             Gregory Oakes                      Elizabeth C. Bley
Diana Haskell                            Jason Paige                          Kristin Bowers
Shandra Helman                      Hild Peersen                          Tony Brackett
Jennifer WoodrumHogg       David Pharris                         Dr. Jeffrey Brooks
Scot Humes                               Nora Shaffer                           Darleen Carl-Beck
Maureen Hurd                          Sunshine Simmons               Joe Clark
Taylor Isberg                             Samuel Sparrow                    Daryl Coad
Sandra Jackson                         Michelle Doyle Tschirhart  Carl Collins
Dunja Jennings                         Tyler Webster                        David Cook
Katie Kellert                               Lisa Wissenberg                    Anthony J. Costa
Stephanie Key                           Bradley Wong                         Elizabeth Crawford
Michelle Kiec                            John Bruce Yeh                       Vanessa Davis
Christopher Kirkpatrick         Guy Yehuda                             Lynda Dembowski
Candice C. Kiser                       Katsuya Yuasa                         Sarah Demy
Jerry Kracht                              Timothy Zavadil                     Zachary Dierickx
Sherry Kujala                            Kyra Zhang                              Yevgeny Dokshansky
Robert Larm                             Julianne Kirk Doyle               Marguerite Levin
Victor M. Drescher                  Noelle Presby Lipa                 Shih-Wen ‘Winnie’ Fan
Scott MacDonald                     Christa J. Frye                         Shelagh MacLeod

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