Best Bassoon Week Ever (10/5/14)

Sooooo…..I’m back!  For real.  For as long as I can.  I figure, if I’m going to be in front of a computer, writing my dissertation and stuff, I might as well start the blog back up!

I gave up for a while, because I needed a chance to see what I really wanted and really missed about this and everything else.  Plus, senioritis was setting in.  Or is it doctoritis?  PhDitis? post-graduate-hoop-jumping-horrible-itis?  I don’t know.  All I know, is that after my last recital (which was kind of painful), I had a hard time finding priorities.  I’m still finding a balance, but I want to be here, and share my love of this with all of you.

So without further ado…

First of all, can we talk about what you jokers did this summer?  I wasn’t there (I most definitely wanted to be, but I was poor, and trying to write proposals).  But can we talk about this flash mob in NYC?  How does this not have more views?

You crazy kids.


But you know what did really good in views?  Jeff Burke playing Get Lucky.

My cats hated this video, but I definitely give it 5 reeds.

Alright bassoonists, lets learn something!

When I became a teenager, I had an obsession with Pink Floyd and the rock avant garde movement of the 70s.  While my friends were listening to Backstreet Boys (I’m so old) and Britney (before the crazy), I was busy hiding away my Zappa Napster tracks, and the one Magma (French progressive rock band) album I could get my hands on. So when I heard that Lindsay Cooper died almost a year ago, it brought back all the old memories of being a terrible angsty teenager, hiding scary music from my parents.  It also made me sit down and listen to how amazing and awesome these groups could be.

Lindsay Cooper was a British bassoonist/oboist/saxophonist/flutist/songwriter/director, and just an amazing musician, who played for Henry Cow, and later, Art Bears and The Feminist Improvising Group.  These bands were progressive avant-garde rock bands of the 70s.  She attended the Royal College of Music and later, the Royal Academy of Music in London, all on Bassoon.  After studying in New York for a year, she came back, and quickly gave up the classical music business, and began playing for various rock groups.

She started playing with Henry Cow in 1973

She foundedThe Feminist Improvising Group in the 80’s.  This group was made up of several musicians, a film maker, and a dancer.  FIG was the first all female improvising group, and brought to light certain issues faced by women, including queer and lesbian issues. Some of the performances featured “mundane everyday things” like egg beaters, brooms, vacuum cleaners, and pots and pans.

A poster Lindsay drew for the group (credit: women's liberation archive blog)
A poster Lindsay drew for the group

Later on, Lindsay became a front musician for Mike Westbrook’s Band. This video is incredibly virtuosic, and shows just what control she had over the instrument.

I obviously can’t cover everything here.  She did way too much, and was involved in too many projects to be featured in this setting.  If you would like to read more about her, the Independent did a nice obituary on her.  You can obviously youtube and google her (the wikipedia page is here).  Or if you want to read more about feminist progressive rock groups, this blog has a good overview of three female rock bands from the UK (including the picture I included and several other videos and memorabilia).


I not only have composers ask questions all the time about what the bassoon can do, but I also have bassoonists asking me.  Here is a fantastic video (this is part I, there is also a part II) of Susanna Whitney giving a composer advice about what the bassoon can do.  Honestly, I picked up a few things to tell composers that I never thought about them asking before.  So, yay!

Shameless plugs:

You can follow me on tumblr  or twitter

Composers!  Got a composition for bassoon, or that includes bassoon, and want bassoonists to know about it?  Send me a score, a link, soundcloud, whatever… to, twitter, or tumblr, and if I like it, I’ll put it up here!  I want to support everyone!



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