The Bassoforte is a product of Wolf and Eppelsheim. This redesign of the bassoon has a greater dynamic range and a greater playing range, down to A1 and a yet unknown upper register. The fortissimo is up to 7dB louder than the modern bassoon and the wide conical bore creates a richer warmer sound. Not yet commercially available, this is meant to be the “wind band bassoon” One of the few possible setbacks is the large size which doesn’t break down into a small case, and because of the new design “forked Eb” doesn’t work, Eb is fingered like it is on the contra with a few alternate Eb keys.
This fall I am returning to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for a PSD (professional studies degree) in bassoon & contrabassoon. I am really excited to be studying with both Steve Paulson and Steve Braunstein and I think that my contrabassoon skill will increase significantly!
I am planning out a few recitals, and since this degree doesn’t require any academic requirements, I can program some difficult works. I haven’t decided on the order of the recitals yet but I have planned four recitals, two for fall and two for spring. So these are the possible programs in no particular order:
Paris Conservatory Commissions
Saint Saens sonata
Dutilleux Sarabande et Cortège
Villa Lobos (or just loosely South American themed)
Duo (oboe, bassoon)
Bachianas Brasileiras bassoon No. 6 (flute, bassoon)
maybe a few Mignone Waltzes
Bach Cello Suite V
Bach Cello Suite II (possibly on contra)
Telemann Fantasias (some on contra)
Vivaldi Concerto C Major RV477
Dutilleux Sarabande et Cortège
The unthinkable happened, in my absence my bassoon took a fall. I left it on a bassoon stand and left my room for a few hours. Some combination of either pets or siblings knocked it over and there was MAJOR damage done to my left thumb keywork.
The D key completely broke off and the C key was bent outwards by about half an inch. After finding it and nearly having a heart attack I immediately called Daniel Deitch. He scheduled me for a repair the very next day! I had a service of Marriage of Figaro the day and it only took him a few minutes to repair it.
He said that there had been a hairline crack in the key since the pieces were so oxidized at the ends and that maybe that key was damaged years before.
There is a spot missing in the plating but bassoon is back to %100
Daniel Deitch is amazing! If you are in SF you should really go and see him.
I have been lucky enough to get some opera work this summer, and even luckier that the orchestra is all great players! We are playing Marriage of Figaro with the Opera Academy of California. The venue is by the sea in San Francisco’s Fort Mason center which prompted me to revive my Legére reed.
My last Legére reed had so many cracks in it that it was eventually unusable and so I went right back to cane reeds. However this year at the IDRS convention I picked up a new one to see if maybe I had a dud before. So far this reed sounds great but there are cracks down one of the blades so we will see how much longer it will last!
I have been putting out reed orders for the past few months with great success and have had a great time connecting with customers. However it has been a hassle to manage reed orders along side regular gig emails etc. so I decided to create a reed website! It is a site that will be constantly updated with new products and cane sources. So feel free to check it out!
There is an icon (will make more sense in a few updates) at the bottom of the webpage linking to my eBay store. That is where I sell sale reeds or inventory that I need to move, usually at a reduced price.
This year was my first IDRS conference yet and it was amazing! I met so many legendary players and nice people. There was an entire room of vendors and instruments to try as well as a room full of music provided by trevco. The bassoon selection was impressive and included:
and oboes were brought by
It was odd that even though there were Loree oboes and Heckel bassoon at the conference. Loree and Heckel were not there only their used instruments were sold through other sellers.
Legère reeds were there and many more bassoons were hooked onto some synthetic reeds. Other innovations were brought by Guntram Wolf. They brought a Lupophon and the Contraforte.
Now this is particularly interesting to me because I have been seriously getting into contrabassoon and I feel a strong pull towards the contraforte. I am now raising funds to buy a contraforte to take auditions with. I have a list of repertoire to perform and record on it and was a great treat to get to play another one this week. If you ever get a chence to get your hands on a contraforte, test it! the dynamics, range, note connection is all much easier.
This is a project I premiered with oboist, Sydne Sullivan. Written by Joseph M. Colombo.
This year will be my first year attending an International Double Reed Society conference. I have always wanted to go to one but they have a been so far away. This year however, it is being hosted at the University of Redlands in Los Angeles from June 25-29. The schedule is packed with masterclasses, concerts, workshops and lectures from many of the biggest double reed artists currently active. I have already squirreled away a budget for the event and Im sure there will be many new products to try out.
I am particularly looking forward to Frank Morelli’s master class playing Sluka’s sonata, John Millers excerpt class, and the exhibit hall. There are events happening each day and a concert every evening. The two performances that I am looking forward to are Martin Kuuskmann performing Steve Paulson’s concerto for bassoon and Frank Morelli performing the Mozart.
This link contains all of the IDRS convention information for this year
This last month I have been playing in a musical. I am playing in a Stephen Sondheim show called “A little night music” it’s being produced with a reduced score.
I have never played a musical before! I’ve been in many operas and symphony shows but never a musical, so I was initially very confused as to how the woodwind part worked. This is so far what I have learned…
Reed 1 is flute, piccolo, alto flute, and maybe clarinet
Reed 2 is flute, clarinet, and maybe alto sax
Reed 3 is clarinet, bass clarinet or tenor sax
Reed 4 can be oboe/english horn
Reed 5 is baritone sax, bassoon, bass clarinet
this is basically what I know about musical scoring so far. I think that the reed parts are different for every show and what I gather is that most people who play in musicals regularly are able to double on many instruments. Basically everyone can play flute and clarinet and sax, but only one person has to have/play the oboe, the bassoon, and the bass clarinet.
A Little night music has me on Reed 5 and for this show this means that it is only a bassoon part, which is rare. What is also specific to musicals is having a long run of a shows. Most projects have a weekends of concerts but musicals can have multiple weeks of shows.
Woodwind players often try new things to “spice up” their playing. Even new instruments emerge with the amount of experimentation, new compositions, technology, and new materials available. Here are a few of my favorite double reed innovations of the last ten years.
German bassoon system add ons:
wing joint system to high G
more about Robert’s bassoon can be found at his website
Guntram Wolf Instruments
Kontraforte (revised contra bassoon)
Lupophon (revised bass oboe)
more information about Wolf instruments and products can be found at:
Loboe (low A oboe)
The new Püchner oboe bell
Marigaux plexiglass oboe
Fox plexiglass bassoon