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STORIES

 

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THE MODERN BASSOON


"We're finally catching up to where we were in the baroque era...where composers, listeners and performers are understanding what a rich solo instrument the bassoon actually is."

- Rebekah Heller 

Rebekah Heller is considered one of the top bassoonists in the world, and is a uniquely dynamic soloist, collaborative artist, improviser, curator, and educator. Called "an impressive solo bassoonist" by The New Yorker, she is fiercely committed to expanding the modern repertoire for the bassoon.


Rebekah has a passion for commissioning and performing new music, coupled with her expertise as a pedagogue, organizational dreamer, fundraiser, and conscientious curator, making her uniquely positioned to guide early-career artists and arts organizations that seek to forge their own way. 


She is a big believer in the responsibility musicians have to represent diversity and audiences around them.

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WHAT IS FLAMENCO BASSOON?


"I am often referred to as the creator of the flamenco bassoon, but I do not consider myself the creator of anything. I remember my flamenco roots from my childhood, when I listened to Spanish music. The bassoon is a tool with which I have shown my freedom."

- Niño Rubén

Niño Rubén is considered to be the creator of flamenco bassoon: specialist in interpretation and composition of Spanish and flamenco music.


He was born in Doña Mencía, south of Spain, in 1997. Considered one of the most transgressive artists within the music panorama, he has earned several awards including the applause of international critics. Through his unique style of flemenco bassoon, Rubén has discovered a whole universe of new sounds based upon a traditional style of Spanish music. He has been able to include the bassoon in spaces where it has never been seen before, raising awareness for one of the world's most unknown symphonic instruments.

About Birth of Flamenco Bassoon


This short film is created directly from his insides, even the air that goes through his instrument has the scent of Andalucía. For three consecutive years, Niño Rubén has been presenting his bassoon, live and direct, as the new colour of flamenco art. He manages to unveil, from the origins of this genre, today Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the first glimpses of a very personal and unprecedented touch up until now. This first work is essential to understand from where this young promise’s musical universe is created.

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FROM TAIPEI TO MILWAUKEE


"The bassoon is a very difficult instrument. It’s an underrated instrument to begin with and not many people know what it is outside of the music world. I like to compare bassoonists to unicorns. They’re highly desirable but there are so few of them."

- Catherine Chen

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Catherine Chen began her musical studies playing the piano at the age of four and the cello at the age of five. She moved with her mother and siblings to the United States when she was six years old, and continued playing both piano and cello until beginning to play the bassoon at age fourteen. She started her bassoon education under the tutelage of Joyce Kelley, former Principal Bassoon of the New York City Opera, and went on to study with Marc Goldberg, former Associate Principal Bassoon of the New York Philharmonic at the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School. Catherine later received her Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Daniel Matsukawa, Principal Bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Currently, Catherine is Principal Bassoon for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, holding the Muriel C. and John D. Silbar Family Bassoon Chair, a position she has has held since 2017 at the age of 24.

Catherine is constantly inspiring more musicians to learn about the bassoon.

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ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTRÉAL (OSM)


"I played recorder and piano in elementary school. At the Joseph-Francois-Perreault School we could choose any instrument in a wind symphony orchestra. A student from the Conservatoire came to talk about the bassoon, an instrument that isn't well known. And that was all it took! For its look, its sound, the immense range...you can play from very low to very high, it's the perfect instrument."

- Stéphane Lévesque

Born in Montreal, Canada, Stéphane Lévesque has held the position of Principal bassoon with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since 1998. He has also served as Principal bassoon with the Mito Chamber Orchestra and Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach and took part in the Solti Orchestral Project at Carnegie Hall.


He is currently Assistant Professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, where Mr Lévesque was the recipient of the 2011-12 Schulich School of Music Teaching Award. A guest artist at the Orford Arts Centre since 2000, he has been the coordinator of the Orford Winds Workshop, and has also served on the faculty of the Université de Montréal from 1998 to 2004, and with the Banff Centre from 2002 to 2008. His former students have won positions in orchestras and music institutions in Canada, Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and the USA.

 
 

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