A Contrabassoon has entered my life recently and I am very excited to start using it. This instrument was owned by Steve Braunstein. He ordered it from Heckel while he was playing with the Toronto symphony, it was finished 1984. Over the summer I trialled 2 other Heckel contras and this instrument was by far the standout. I am very lucky to be the custodian of this horn for a few years.
I get asked about the Contraforte vs. Contrabassoon and I mostly stay quiet. But I think that the entire repertoire is accessible to either instrument. I would like to experiment with using both instruments this season, choosing the instrument that fits the character of the piece.
Come join us in San Francisco this Saturday at 8pm, in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Concert Hall. Tickets are still available at
In the Paris Musical Instrument Museum there are a few display cases of bassoons, and one of them contains a bassoon made metal. This bassoon was made by Arsène Zoë Lecomte at the end of the 19th century. It was made based on the Buffet “French” bassoon fingering system/bore.
A vintage Royet Toulouse Ophicleide in C is up for sale on eBay. Mendelssohn, Wagner, Berlioz, and Verdi all have repertoire utilizing the Ophicleide.
Heckel Contrabassoon #1002 is up for sale. This contra is owned by Steve Braunstein who is the original owner, and he has kept fantastic care of it! The horn was ordered in 1982 while he was in the Toronto Symphony and he has since been playing it in the San Francisco Symphony. Contact him to arrange a visit and play test.
Meerenai Shim and I have started a new ensemble, Keyed Kontraptions!
This was a natural progression for us which came about from our previous collaborations. Our combined sound is so unique and I am excited to share our playing with you. We will be working with composers in the Bay Area to create repertoire for this arrangement.
Joseph Columbo wrote us a piece last season titled Strawocktopuss (which is a reference to one of my tattoos) Here is our performance of his piece, more to come!
An 1875 Gautrot-Marquet Bass Sarrusophone in Bb is for sale in Los Angeles. The owner is asking a very fair price considering the rarity and condition of this instrument. It is fully restored and playable at A=440
Check it out and make him an offer on eBay
I sent a few reeds out for this instrument that were modeled after historic images and published dimensions