Bass Clarinet Collection Jan Guns


Bass-clarinetist Jan Guns started his professional career as soloist clarinet and bass clarinet at the Antwerp Opera House in 1972. Soon he got the reputation as one of the most prominent bass clarinet players in Belgium, which resulted in 1983 in his nomination as soloist bass clarinet at the B.R.T. Philharmonic Orchestra (present the Flemish Radio Orchestra).

He also extended his range by working with various chamber music ensembles. Apart from performing with the Arriaga Quartet, the Moscow Chamber Soloists, the Walter Boeykens Ensemble, the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble and the Prometheus Ensemble, he was a regular member of Antwerp Clarinet Quartet, the Walter Boeykens Clarinet Choir and Concertino Classicum, and made frequent guest appearances at various festivals both in Belgium and abroad.

At present he is a founding member of the Gemini Ensemble (bass clarinet and marimba) and the Trio Classicum (basset horn trio). As a soloist he has regularly recitals throughout the world.

Besides his teaching as professor in bass clarinet and basset horn at the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Antwerp (Belgium), he gives lessons at international summer courses in Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland and Spain, and master-classes moreover in Hungary, Sweden, Japan and South-America. Since 1995 Jan Guns gives intensive courses for bass clarinet and basset horn twice a year at the Belgian Flanders Exchange Center in Osaka and the Nagoya University of Arts. The specialized Japanese magazine “Pipers” keeps its eyes on him and published a very interesting interview with Jan Guns (Nr.220), as well as the British magazine "Clarinetwise" (Volume 4 No 3).

His driving force behind the “Dag Basklarinet” event in 1989 in Holland and Belgium, and the International Bass Clarinet Days in Gent (Belgium) attributed to his internationally highly appreciated reputation.

Jan Guns is a popular guest of the “International Clarinet Congress”, where he has already several times given concerts and master-classes (Ostend 1999, Stockholm 2002 and Tokyo 2005). In October 2005 he was invited on the “First World Bass Clarinet Convention” in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) to play a recital with original Belgium bass clarinet music.  In the summer 2005 Jan Guns performed at  the International Exposition in Nagoya (Japan).  

Jan Guns has inspired several well-known and reputed Belgian and foreign composers, who wrote a number of works especially for him. One of the pieces “Look, a bass clarinet in my garden!” written by Wilfried Westerlinck in 1985, is appointed for the bass clarinet auditions in the professional orchestras in Belgium and abroad.

“Spotlights on the Bass Clarinet”, for bass clarinet solo and orchestra, written by Jan Hadermann, must be one of the most popular works written for this instrument. It should be mentioned especially that this piece was performed by Jan Guns with Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador conducted by Alvaro Manzano in Quito, Sept. 1996, and also with Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band conducted by Dirk Brossé in Osaka, Dec. 1999.

The Maltese, ‘one of Composers brightest stars’, Charles Camilleri, one of the Japanese noteworthy young composers, Tatsuya Kurachi, and the Oscar-nominated Belgian composer Dirk Brossé wrote works especially for Jan Guns' bass clarinet.

In February 2005 he made the world premiere of Jan Van der Roost’s bass clarinet concerto “Tre Sentimenti” with the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space in Japan.

His performances were recorded for radio and television at various European and North-American broadcasting stations, and also for CDs. The first CD of Gemini Ensemble “The Fascinating World of the Bass Clarinet and the Marimba” (PHAEDRA-292 005) got a favorable review from a number of European music magazines. Other performances of Jan Guns can be listened on the following CDs: André Laporte “Chamber Music”, The Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides “Firestorm”, Ensemble Walter Boeykens “Janácek-Mládí”, The Walter Boeykens Clarinet Choir “From J.S. Bach to J.L.Coeck”, Flanders Clarinet Quartet + Kansai Clarinet Ensemble “Live for Japan”. Jan Guns has made also plenty of recordings for CD (Naxos - Marco Polo - Discover) with the “B.R.T. Philharmonic Orchestra”.

Since 1997 he works actively for the “Bass Clarinet Collection Jan Guns” publication of Metropolis Music Publishers. This collection contains apart from a vast number of fine pieces for bass clarinet and basset horn, the works written for Jan Guns.