Carol is known for making music with exuberance, using her sheer limitless control over the instrument as well as her whole body in service of musical storytelling. She sees the score as great gateway to the inner life of composers, from today of from the past.
Carol co-founded Argento New Music Project in 2000. The ensemble plays all over the world and has made award winning recordings. It was dubbed ‘An essential source of adventurous new music’ by Alex Ross of The New Yorker. Carol has been involved in the commissioning of over 100 new works, ranging from solo pieces to clarinet concertos, by composers such as Philippe Hurel, Bernard Lang, Kevin Volans, Nico Muhly and Erin Gee.
One treasured collaboration has been with Ann Cleare. Ann, still studying at IRCAM, immediately composed a piece for contrabass clarinet with electronics after hearing Carol perform in Paris. Subsequent compositions were a solo piece, a mini concerto for clarinet and ensemble, and a concerto for contrabass flute, contrabass clarinet and symphony orchestra. Ann Cleare is currently writing a clarinet quintet for Carol and the JACK Quartet.
In August 2023, PBS released a documentary in which Carol is featured celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Santa Fe Chamber Festival. Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is part of the performances, with Kirill Gerstein, Leila Josefowicz and Paul Watkins as her musical partners.
Carol recently produced a video performance of Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint for Lincoln Center and the La Jolla Festival, and playing together with 10 other clarinetists including Anthony McGill (New York Philharmonic) and Ricardo Morales and Anton Rist (the Met). Her solo version, made during corona times, was deemed ‘mandatory viewing’ by Bachtrack.
Carol was trained at Queen’s University of Belfast, being exposed to a vast array of modern music in addition to the western classical canon and world music. During further studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, she performed some of her first professional gigs with Ensemble Modern.
Carol was granted a full scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music to study with Charles Neidich, receiving her Masters in 2001.
Immediately following her studies in New York City, she joined the Carnegie Hall Workshops, collaborating with talented peers in addition to Elliot Carter, Oliver Knussen and Michael Tilson Thomas. This exposure led to many invitations by the venue, for instance as soloist for Nico Muhly’s Carnegie debut, and performances as a member of the Zankel Band – a handpicked band of soloists, working with renowned conductors.
Carol was soloist in both John Adam’s In Your Ear Festival at Carnegie Hall and in Los Angeles’s Monday Evening Concerts, curated by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Many performances with groups such as The Knights Chamber Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Argento brought Carol as a soloist to major venues, in both classical and contemporary music. She was invited to play at Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series in 2009.
One of the most impactful experiences for Carol was being part of the inaugural group of musicians selected to help create Ensemble Connect, a fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. It prepares extraordinary young professional classical musicians for careers that combine musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
Out of the program development grew Decoda, an ensemble of which Carol remains a member. Her Trio Ariadne (with piano and cello) was selected to represent Carnegie Hall at the Green Music Center Sonoma as ensemble-in-residence for a period of 2 years.
Carol gave master classes and workshops at Columbia, Harvard and Princeton University, the Curtis Institute, the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, among others. In 2020, she received her Doctor’s Degree at the State University of New York. Carol McGonnell was formally a teacher at the Music Advancement Program at Juilliard and continues there on faculty for contrabass clarinet.
Carol has performed chamber music with musicians including the Danish String Quartet, the Modigliani Quartet, the Elias String Quartet, Jonathan Biss, Kit Armstrong, Shai Wosner, Daniel Hope, Pekka Kuusisto, Barbara Hannigan and Frederica Von Stade. She performed as a soloist with the Ulster Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Invitations from festivals have taken Carol from Mecklenburg Festival (Germany) to Suntory Hall Chamber Music Garden (Japan), from Djúpid Festival (Iceland) to US festivals such as Aspen, Santa Fe, Marlboro, Spoleto and the Sounds French Festival. In Ireland, Carol is a frequent guest at Dublin International Chamber Music Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the Kilkenny Festival.
Carol McGonnell is grateful to the Music Capital Scheme in supporting the acquisition of her contrabass and basset clarinet.
Cansu Tanrıkulu is a singing multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and an improviser based in Berlin. She collaborates with exceptional creatives and likes making shape-shifting music mostly based on topics that are hard to imagine as musical entities at first glance. Since 2018, she is one of the busiest young voices in the European Creative Music Scene leading/co-leading multiple international composition and performance projects.
With her elastic singing, wide stylistic vocabulary and far reaching approach to melody and text- based improvisation Tanrıkulu became an in-demand vocalist in countless collaborations in a short- time, actively performing in renowned platforms of Europe and USA with her bands next to projects she’s been supporting. In most of her bands she also plays synth, guitar and works with electronics as a part of her unique vocal language.
Her projects include: PILED UP by Tanrikulu (w. Lukas König, Nick Dunston & Simon Jermyn), Melez (w. Jim Black & Elias Stemeseder), MeoW (w. Jim Black, Liz Kosack & Dan Peter Sunderland) & Tanrıkulu feat. Greg Cohen & Tobias Delius, Pep Talk (w. Korhan Erel), Aşa (w. David August) and multiple other duo collaborations including clarinetist Carol McGonnell, guitarist & composer Jessica Ackerley and composer & multi-instrumentalist Nick Dunston.
Cansu was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1991 and moved to Berlin in 2015 after finishing her degree in cognitive psychology. She had her theatre composition debut in 2021 for “Krampus” in Maxim Gorki Theater/Berlin as a co-composer with Korhan Erel. She made music on a scope of topics including televangelists, porn, neural structures, James Gandolfini & cats. Her album “Kantoj de Fermiteco” with the trio (w Greg Cohen and Tobias Delius), inspired from the tableaux art of Edward Kienholz, was released on LowSwing Records in November 2021 premiered w. Marc Ribot as guest in Jazzfest Berlin 2021 and reached out to Taiwan, USA, Japan and all over Europe with reviews including the MINT Magazin, BR Klassik. The album was presented with a 60-minute long film made by Tanrıkulu and Daniela Imhoff. She is a recipient of Jazz-Preis der Karl Hofer Gesellschaft for Soloist (2019), Elsa Neumann Stipendium – UdK (2021) and her projects are regularly supported by prestigious international institutions & residencies (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians 2022 founded by Jen Shyu & Sara Serpa).
Cansu is always expanding her scope of projects as well as working as a recording artist/performer for established international artists (incl. Nate Wooley’s Seven Storey Mountain VI 2021, Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome in 2019). Her collaborations include bands like Nick Dunston’s SKULTURA, Max Andrzejewski’s Hütte & Guests Playing Robert Wyatt’s Music, James Banner’s USINE & Stine Janvin’s Chords for Calling and other outstanding creatives including Trevor Dunn, Sofia Jernberg, Matt Mitchell, Cenk Ergün, Dan Nicholls, Otis Sandsjö, Sofia Borges, Kaan Bıyıkoglu, Zeynep Toraman, Julia Hülsmann & Tomomi Adachi.