About this bassoonist


My interest in contemporary literature, I confess, came late in the game for me as a musician.  I was very much fascinated by the compositions of Boulez, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Berio, and others, but was never encouraged to seek out music written for my instrument.  I never considered that there were people out there, writing for the bassoon, right now.  In the last year of my masters, I was approached by a professor who knew of my interest in contemporary literature, and told me about his bassoon quartet.

I never could get three other bassoonists to buy into the quartet and play it with me, but pretty soon this experience opened up my world.  I started looking at all the professors at Peabody, and looking into their catalogues.  Some of them had written something for the bassoon.  Then I realized that some of their students had written something for the bassoon.  Then I realized that I could find someone to write me a piece.  That I could collaborate with composers to create an entirely new work was amazing, interesting, and fundamentally life changing for me.


Three weeks before that discovery, I had taken the LSATs and was filling out law school applications.  I soon became incredibly passionate about music making all over again, in a way that I had not been in a very long time.  I began filling out doctoral applications, and looking for schools that had a great bassoon teacher, at least a strong contemporary area, and lots of composers.

I always believed that as humans, we had a right to make music.  As a musician, I have a right to be heard.  To play.  I also believe that all those composers out there also have a right to be heard, above the din, even for a minute.  I can champion my instrument all I want, but with nothing new to say, we bassoonists are a lonely lot. Weber, Mozart, Francaix, and even Berio go far, but much has been said already. But a new composition gives us as musicians an entirely new perspective.  To say and do things that give us a new cause, as bassoonists, as musicians, and as people.

I was the first person to say “there’s nothing new out there”, but I was wrong, and all those others are wrong.  I started this blog specifically to showcase all the new music out there for the bassoon.  To show bassoonists and composers alike, that the bassoon is a wonderful, beautiful instrument that should, and can be written for, without all the scariness that can come with it.   I wanted to show bassoonists what is out there, and make them see that all these compositions can appeal to each individual taste differently.  That each work is entitled to a hearing, and that each of these composers – these people- have something to say

I want to study new works as a musician, a scholar, and a champion of the new music spectrum.  I may have limited experience in new music in general, but I have learned so much, and have come so far as both a musician and scholar. I am passionate about the importance of this music to musicians now, and musicians in the future.  I want my students, and my students’ students to see, hear, and understand the music of their generation, as well as the past. This blog will hopefully become a testament to my mission as a musician, a person, and a feeling human being: to play every piece of music that comes before me in a thoughtful and meaningful way, with my only thought to be to that of the music, and its fundamental right to exist in its best form.

3 thoughts on “About this bassoonist

  1. Hello Jolene,

    I am a composer from London, and was wondering if you would be interested in looking at any of my bassoon pieces? I have composed some Concert Studies for bassoon, and also a Bassoon Quartet.

    Please get in touch with me at leonhaxby@btinternet.com

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Leon Haxby

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