St. Louis Symphony Contrabassoon audition

St. Louis Symphony is auditioning Contrabassoonists. The audition is on May 1 and the position starts August 2016. The symphony recently posted the repertoire list, but not yet the sheet music. I’m posting it here because I think it’s useful for people who aren’t taking the audition to see what is on the list. As a student I used to prepare audition lists as if I was going to attend.

The exposition of the second movement of the Mozart Concerto is asked which isn’t typical. Also multiple Shostakovich excerpts are on the list which can be hard to get a hold of.

St Louis Symphony

Joseph Colombo B:R:X

San Francisco composer Joe Colombo wrote a great new piece which premiered with the Elevate Ensemble last month. A wind trio for piccolo, oboe, and contraforte drawing inspiration from Beethoven, Ravel and Xenakis (B:R:X)

Conductor: Chad Goodman

Piccolo: Bethanne Walker

Oboe: Sydne Sullivan

Contraforte: Kris King

Bassoon Family

Bassoon Contrabassoon Contraforte French Bassoon Basson Baroque Fagott

“The bassoon family” is a bassoon lesson that I teach when a student is in a slump. Too many weeks on etudes or a concerto often makes high schoolers lose interest. So I give them a contra lesson, or for the students that have lessons in my home, an introduction to the bassoon family. I have two high school seniors this year, and contrabassoon will definitely be a part of college orchestra playing.

The start of each lesson is playing through the circle of fifths, 12 major scales. This is a nice way to get into contrabassoon and introduce the vent keys and the Eb keys. The student can get a small taste of standard orchestra excerpts like the Contrabassoon solos written by Ravel in his Piano Concerto in G, and Ma Mère l’Oye. Contrabassoon comes quickly to many bassoonists, and Contraforte come quickly to bassoonists who also play sax. The simple octave keys on the Contraforte make it a closer match to high woodwinds.

It’s also interesting to introduce students to the Baroque bassoon. I make a point to have students learn a baroque piece every year, since honor orchestras and college auditions ask for pieces from contrasting eras. The basic scale of the baroque bassoon is the same as modern bassoon, so a few Vivaldi concertos translate well to the baroque bassoon. This also provides a useful insight into the instrument that the piece was written for, and how lucky we are to have a modernized bassoon.

The french bassoon is mostly for informational use. To learn the lowest octave chromatically and play a few scales. I don’t teach much French repertoire to high schoolers so it’s an instrument with no direct connection to their experiences. But I Play a few recordings of french bassoon players, explain the Paris Conservatory, and the school of French players that still exist throughout the world.

Baroque Bassoon, French Bassoon, German Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Contraforte
Baroque Bassoon, French Bassoon, German Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Contraforte