At the age of 11, Christopher Ball switched on the radio and heard George Butterworth's "The Banks of Green Willow" played by an unaccompanied clarinet. He was so smitten by the music and the sound of the instrument playing it that he took up the clarinet and, as he progressed, studied with three of the world's leading soloists - Jack Brymer, Reginald Kell and Gervase de Peyer. He joined the Hallé Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli and later studied conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, going on to conduct several prestigious orchestras including the BBC's Philharmonic and Scottish Symphony, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House. As a composer, Christopher Ball has had several commissions from the BBC. He favours the concerto form and has written concertos for violin, recorder, oboe and flute besides this one for clarinet, about which he says "....I also decided to write a clarinet concerto, to try and make the instrument sound at its magical best in the hope that some young child might switch on the radio, hear my concerto and fall in love with the instrument, as I had done."