Octopoda is a new multi-movement work for bass clarinet and piano written by composer Robin McLaughlin. Octopoda will be brought to life by a consortium of bass clarinet players lead by Asher Carlson.

Robin and Asher’s collaborations began while masters students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with Germinate for reed quintet. They are teaming up again to create Octopoda, a piece about the most mysterious of sea creatures, the octopus.


A portion of proceeds from the consortium for Octopoda will be donated to the Ocean Conservancy, an organization dedicated to research-based ocean solutions. The deadline to sign up has now passed - stay tuned for the release of the Octopoda score to the public in July 2023!

Octopoda lasts 12 minutes, and is scored for bass clarinet and piano. The piece contains four evocative movements:

  1. Ebb and Flow
  2. Chromatophore
  3. Hatching
  4. Release the Kraken

The bass clarinetist will need to be able to play a low C, and needs to be prepared to play color-trills. The piano part has no extended techniques.

Composer Robin McLaughlin approaches the subject of nature in her music with whimsy, whether she is telling the story of seeds sprouting, a flowering tree, or imagining the growth of a storm. Robin’s works are built around narrative, promoting understanding through story. 

Robin has had work performed throughout the United States and Canada, and has been recognized by ASCAP and the American Composers Forum. Classical Voice of North Carolina writes that her music is "sure to delight the most discerning of listeners." Drawing inspiration from metaphor and the sacred, Robin writes music that is colorful and energetic.


Robin has recently held residencies at Arts Letters and Numbers and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been a fellow at the Norfolk New Music Workshop and the University of Nebraska Lincoln Chamber Music Institute, and her saxophone quartet On This Day won the American Composer’s Forum’s Showcase Award. Robin’s music has been presented at Nief-Norf’s Genre Lines summit, as well as the 2018 NASA Biennial Conference.  

Robin holds a MM in Music Composition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Recent projects include a piece for flute and lighting design for Krisztina Dér Noble’s flute/light project, Falling Up for the ensemble she founded, Catchfire Collective, and Forest Cathedral for the Ancia Saxophone Quartet.

Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan and on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Asher Carlson has always been fascinated by what lives beneath the waves. Had he not chosen to pursue music in college, he very likely would have become a marine biologist specializing in cephalopod research.

Asher holds the positions of Second and Eb Clarinet of the Venice Symphony Orchestra in Venice, FL, and Principal Bass Clarinet of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra in Tallahassee, FL. His musical pursuits have taken him on tours of the continental United States, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, and Kenya, performing with chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, wind bands, and chamber choruses. Asher also teaches on the clarinet faculty of the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, Florida College, State College of Florida, and the University of South Florida and has been featured as a teacher and performer at the 2017 Clarinetfest in Orlando, FL, the 2018 Belgian Clarinet Academy in Ostend, Belgium, the 2021 Suncoast XIII Conference in Tampa, FL, the 2022 Sarasota Opera Festival in Sarasota, FL, the 2022 Artosphere Festival in Fayetteville, AR, and the 2022 International Society of Music Educators Conference.


Asher holds a BME from the Florida State University, an MM in Clarinet Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education with a cognate in Clarinet Performance from the University of South Florida.

About the Ocean Conservancy

Knowing that the ocean needs more than our well-wishes to be protected, we are donating 10% of the proceeds from this consortium to the Ocean Conservancy, an organization dedicated to protecting the ocean.


From their website: “Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.”

 You can bring Octopoda to life by joining the consortium. All consortium participants will receive their name or their studio’s name on the score and on the consortium webpage. The deadline to sign up has now passed - stay tuned for the release of the Octopoda score to the public in July 2023!


All consortium members will receive a PDF score on July 15th, 2022. They will have exclusivity of performance through July 14th, 2023. You can join at one of three tiers:


1.    Student Level ($30) (Individuals enrolled at an institution, or individuals recently graduated within the last 3 months)

2.    Professional Level ($75) (Individuals who make most of their living making music)

3.    Studio License ($150) (Licensed for printing and playing for all members of the clarinet studio at your university)

The Octopoda consortium is led by Asher Carlson. Other members include: