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WHAT IS A BASSOON?

bas·soon | \ bə-ˈsün | noun : A rather strange, wooden oblong instrument affectionately referred to as a farting bedpost, potato shooter, clown of the orchestra, wind cello, or the talented goose.

 
 
 

WHY I CHOSE THE BASSOON

Supporter Spotlight

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RIAN MORGAN

Seattle, Washington

My name is Rian Morgan and i’m a 16 year old, female bassoonist from Washington. I switched from flute to bassoon, and I’ve been playing it for 3 years now. Switching instruments was one of my best decisions i’ve ever made in my “musical career” so far. While I loved the flute, bassoon quickly became my favorite instrument because of its range, versatility, and its warm and rich tone. My bassoon has opened up a gateway to many opportunities. It got me into many different orchestras, band programs, competitions, clinics, and trips.


I’ve been in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra program for 2 years now and i’ve made it through 3 out of 4 of their orchestras so far. I’m currently in their junior orchestra playing under the direction of Marcus Tsutakawa. Some other groups that I’ve played with are Orchestra of Flight, Washington All-State bands, and MRHS Wind Ensemble.

I’ve met so many amazing musicians and conductors while playing music. Staying in band/music programs have inspired me to continue playing bassoon throughout high school and hopefully college! I’ve had a blast playing bassoon and I hope that this has somewhat encouraged you to play bassoon!

MAX GREENLEAF

Madison, Wisconsin

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Max is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in music education at the University of Montana. He started playing the bassoon in eighth grade after switching from flute, this ended up being one of the best decisions he could have made.

Throughout school he has participated in state honors music festivals, honors bands, and symphony orchestras. Notably, he has performed with his University’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble at the Northwest CBDNA conference in San Francisco and with symphony orchestras across Montana.

As a future music educator he hopes to promote the bassoon in school music classes and encourage young musicians to explore underrepresented instruments. He is fortunate to be surrounded by great musicians and to get to explore the bassoon in many different genres.

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CONSTANTINA KOUTI

Athens, Greece

Hello! My name is Constantina Kouti, I’m 21 and I’m from Greece. My relationship with the bassoon started when I went to high school. Here we have “music schools” where we do all regular classes plus music (ex. Piano lessons, choir, music theory, orchestra/ band etc.). We had the option to choose a musical instrument to learn there and that’s when I first saw the bassoon and it was a “love at first sight”. After that, I became a part of the Athens Youth Symphonic Orchestra and other orchestras here. If I had to go back and recall the best experience and concert I’ve had, it would be when we played Beethoven’s 5th symphony in Berlin or when we played with my school in Florence. The real journey though started when I decided to go to a conservatorium and become more serious about bassoon and my future with music. That’s when I met my current teacher and it’s honestly the best thing I could ask for. He’s the one that pushes me and is making me see what really classical music is all about and, to be honest, I keep on falling in love with the bassoon it’s day that it goes by. 


If I had an advice to give to anyone is to find what you enjoy about music and multiply that. For example, if you started music due to the fact that you heard a piece you really like or you went to a concert etc., keep listening to new pieces and going to as many concerts as possible in order to keep the passion going and keep reliving the moments that made you adore music. 

ANGELA HOMS

Amposta, Spain

My name is Àngela Homs, I’m 18 years old and from a small town called Amposta in Spain. When I was a little girl, my parents who were photographers filmed the concerts of the local music band La Lira Ampostina. I really enjoyed listening and seeing backstage all the musicians with their instruments. When I was 9, I told my parents that I wanted to play music. First I wanted to play the piano, but one day, in the study room next to my class, I heard the sound of an instrument I had never heard before. With no hesitation I opened the door and saw for the first time a bassoon. “Beautiful” I thought. In that moment I knew I would play that instrument.


I started my music studies in La Lira Ampostina. Now I’m studying in the Professional Conservatory of Tortosa. The bassoon has become a part of me and given me the opportunity to play with the band of La Lira and different orchestras. The fact that there are not many bassoonists, also gave me the opportunity to meet and speak with lots of bassoonists near Catalonia, and around the world.


The instrument itself, is so special, you only have to look at it. And the sound, also so peculiar, can be beautiful and melodic, or the funny instrument that you hear all the times in cartoons but you don’t really know that is a bassoon. Music brings joy to people, and the bassoon has given sense to my life. I hope sooner or later the number of bassoonists increases and that more people gets to know this wonderful instrument!

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STEPHEN MAK

Malaysia & Singapore

Stephen Mak Wai Soon is an endeavouring bassoonist who was born in Selangor, Malaysia. He began his journey with the bassoon at the age of 11 under the tutelage of Alexandar Lenkov, principal bassoonist of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). At the age of 14, he was accepted into the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) where his love for the bassoon and making music flourished. His involvement with the MPYO has opened up doors for him to play in other ensembles in Malaysia, namely The High Winds Ensemble, the Penang Symphony Orchestra, the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) string orchestra, as well as the Kuala Lumpur City Opera Orchestra Ensemble.

In 2019, he began his bachelor degree studies in bassoon performance at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore under Professor Zhang Jin Min. Notable activities that has spurred his growth as a bassoonist and musician since the commencement of his studies included masterclasses with Christian Kunert, Kittima Molee and Makiko Kunow, as well as performing for the 2019 Beethoven im Garten concert held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

As it is a rare instrument, Stephen desires to promote the bassoon to Malaysians, helping them understand it is a wonderful instrument. 

ABBY MAULDIN

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Hi! My name is Abby Mauldin. I am a 16 year old from Arkansas. My musical journey started when I was 6 years old with the piano. I instantly fell in love with music and have been playing the piano ever since. My bassoon journey started in the 7th grade in the starting clarinet class. In the Fayetteville band program, students typically are to start out on one of 5 instruments: clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone, or percussion. However, because of my background in piano, I was able to start on bassoon right away. On my first day I was given a bassoon, led to a practice room, and was told to “go play”. My first semester on the bassoon was all self-taught with the help of a method book. 

Ever since, I have been passionate about the bassoon and driven to make music for others to enjoy. I have played in many clinic orchestras and bands as first chair. This year, I was named the first in state bassoon player for Arkansas. I have also won the Eric Varner Young Artists Competition and have attended many music camps. My favorite piece I have ever played in concert was the Barber of Seville Overture by Rossini. It was enjoyed by both the orchestra and the audience. 

One day, I hope to attend college and pursue a double major in music education and performance. I want to inspire others through music and bring joy to people listening.

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ELZA OZOLA

Riga, Latvia

I am currently studying for my Master’s degree and teaching young Latvian bassoonists. When I was 10 years old, I convinced my parents, that I really want to go to a music school. It was the middle of semester and all of the most popular instrument classes were full, so I had to choose between the bassoon and the double bass. I wanted to play a wind instrument and one of my cousins already played the bassoon, it wasn’t a hard choice!


Studying the bassoon instantly opened doors to some very cool opportunities, like, playing in a youth symphony orchestra and a wind band. There are not that many bassoon students in Latvia, so there were almost no competition for me to have a part in such activities. I probably wouldn’t have chosen a career in music, if I played another instrument!

We’re thankful to be supported by so many amazing musicians worldwide.

 
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