"New American Classics," featuring Chris Grymes, clarinet and Xak Bjerken, piano, with special guest Scott Andrews, clarinet

Co-sponsor: Open G Records


New York-based clarinetist Chris Grymes and pianist Xak Bjerken present a concert of new American classics, featuring music by Steve Reich, Joan Tower, and works from the next generation of great American composers, including a world premiere from Washington University's own Christopher Stark.


Edison Box Office: (314) 935-6543

$20 General Admission
$12 Seniors, WU Faculty & Staff
$5 students and youth
Free for WUSTL students with ID


Steve Reich, NY Counterpoint

clarinet and electronics


Joan Tower, Fantasy (... those harbor lights) for Clarinet and Piano

clarinet and piano


Mario Davidovsky, Synchronisms no. 12

clarinet and electronics


Loren Loiacono: Three Tarantellas

clarinet and piano


Poulenc, Duo

two clarinets


Christopher Stark, Horizon

clarinet and piano


An eclectic and versatile performer, clarinetist Chris Grymes’ playing has been described as “scintillating in its energy and technique” (The Clarinet), and “eloquent...animated and free of any interpretive self indulgence” (The Strad). Most recently, Mr. Grymes was praised by The New York Times for his “acuity” and The Baltimore Sun for his “admirable technical and expressive strengths”.

Equally at home in traditional and modern classical music, Chris is a strong proponent of exposing the process of the creation of art, commissioning and premiering many new works ranging from pieces for solo clarinet to concertos with orchestra, most recently giving the world premiere of Jeremy Gill’s “Notturno Concertante” with the Harrisburg Symphony, which he also recorded with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Always striving to “pull back the curtain”, Chris also writes about music and life, does podcast interviews of musicians and artists, and even livestreams his daily practice, all at opengrecords.com. Chris' first clarinet teacher was F. Edward Knakal in Virginia Beach, VA. Chris served as a tenured member of the faculty at the East Carolina University School of Music from 2001-2011, and currently lives in New York, NY with his wife and son, Saul.

Xak Bjerken has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall. He has performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Konzerthaus in Berlin as well as at Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall and the Kennedy Center. For many years, he has performed nationally as a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet and was co-director with Steven Stucky of Ensemble X, a new music ensemble.  He has held chamber music residencies at the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival and Olympic Music Festival, served on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival, and is currently on the faculty at Kneisel Hall and at the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College. He released his first solo recording on CRI in 2001, and has since recorded for Open G Records, Koch International, Chandos, Albany Records, and the Artona labels, and has a recent disc of solo and chamber works by Stephen Hartke on Chandos. Xak Bjerken is Professor of Music at Cornell University where, with his wife, Miri Yampolsky, he co-directs Mayfest, an international chamber music festival. Xak studied with Aube Tzerko at the University of California at Los Angeles and received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Peabody Institute as a student of and teaching assistant to Leon Fleisher.