Professional Bassoonist & Bassoon Instructor
Praised for her “flair” and “deftly illuminated” performances by The New York Times, bassoonist Rebekah Heller is a uniquely dynamic soloist, collaborative artist, improviser, curator, and educator.
Rebekah is deeply committed to expanding modern repertoire for the bassoon. She has a passion for commissioning and performing new music, and as a pedagogue, organizational dreamer, fundraiser, and conscientious curator, her interests, experience, and talents drive her to help guide early-career artists and arts organizations looking to forge their own path.
Rebekah made her solo debut with the New York Philharmonic in September 2018, playing the music of longtime ICEensemble collaborator Ashley Fure. She has been a soloist with the Seattle Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Nagoya Philpharmonic, among many others. She has been an unceasing advocate for the bassoon as a solo instrument, and she is fiercely committed to expanding the modern repertoire for the instrument. She has conducted seminars worldwide for both composers and bassoonists, and is constantly working to encourage collaborative explorations and help normalize the widespread use of new techniques and sounds.
Her debut solo album of world premiere recordings, 100 names, features five new pieces written with and for her. This album was described as "pensive and potent" by The New York Times. For her second album, METAFAGOTE, Tempo Magazine wrote, “Composers interested in writing for the bassoon should take note of this album, as it showcases the true heterogeneity of the instrument's colours.”
Rebekah has been a bassoonist of the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (the Ensemble) since 2008, a role that in which she has premiered hundreds of new works by an incredibly diverse group of creators on stages the world over. In 2010, she joined the the Ensemble staff as Director of Events. In 2013, she began her tenure as Director of Individual Giving. She later joined percussionist Ross Karre as Co-Artistic Director in January 2018. Rebekah has helped to focus the Ensemble's artistic season planning around key partnerships and initiatives centering around socially engaged programming while working on policies and practices that maximize performer agency. In September 2020, she transitions to a seat on the Board of Directors, and will continue to provide her expertise through the Ensemble’s numerous mentorship and educational programs, in addition to as a performer in many upcoming collaborative projects.
During her tenure as Co-Artistic Director of the Ensemble, Rebekah helped spearhead the ensemble’s CoPA partnership, including bringing the Ensemble’s famed summer program for early career artists, called Ensemble Evolution, home to NYC at CoPA. She has also led a week-long online intensive program for young artists called ‘finding your path’, as part of CoPA remote Summer Festivals, and served as part of the team that developed a new core curriculum for The New School’s CoPA.
Committed to fostering conversations around inventive ways in which new music can be experienced and shared, Rebekah Heller has been a featured panelist at the New York Philharmonic’s “Insights at the Atrium,” the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Miller Theatre, and the Abrons Arts Center. In 2018, she was invited by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to curate and lead an interactive performance of the Sonic Meditations of Pauline Oliveros in the gardens of the Getty Museum, as part of that group’s highly publicized Fluxus Festival.
Rebekah is passionate about speaking with young artists and organizations about how to create a robust and fulfilling career and has partnered with many organizations around the country including The New World Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Ensemble Connect, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music.
Before joining the Ensemble, Rebekah served as Principal Bassoonist of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in the 2008-2009 season, and was a member of The New World Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She studied at the University of Texas at Austin and the Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, and lives on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Rebekah recently joined the faculty of the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) and The Mannes School of Music at The New School in the fall of 2019.
She leads a bassoon studio, teaching classes in creative producing and socially engaged artistry for both graduate & undergraduate students.