Peabody’s second Bassoon Week was a great success. Hosted by Phillip Kolker, bassoon professor and chair of the orchestral instruments and organ department at the Peabody Institute, Bassoon Week is an intensive, five-day program primarily for intermediate and advanced high school and undergraduate college students. The curriculum—which includes daily lessons, master classes, chamber music coaching, and reed-making workshops—offers strategies to help students practice more effectively, improve technique and sight-reading skills, and make a more beautiful sound. Sixteen students from across America participated—from as close by as Baltimore and from as far away as Florida and Texas.
The theme of this year’s Bassoon Week was “Telemann and Tango.” Telemann repertoire included three solo bassoon sonatas as well as an arrangement for bassoon by Mr. Kolker of one of Telemann’s delightful recorder sonatas. The four sonatas contained sixteen movements total, allowing each of our sixteen participants to perform one movement on our Student Recital on Friday night, which also included a variety of chamber music pieces. In addition, students had the opportunity to have private lessons throughout the week with the Bassoon Week faculty members Phil Kolker, Lynn Moncilovich and Robert Sirois.
Every day began with reed class at 9 a.m. Each student spent many hours forming, scraping and wrapping new reeds, learning the process of making a bassoon reed from scratch. Mr. Kolker aimed to have each student make at least one reed from start to finish and be able to play on it by the end of the week.
Master classes led by Mr. Kolker were held in Griswold Hall each morning and afternoon. Each student had the opportunity to play in front of the group accompanied by staff pianist Lura Johnson (Peabody faculty member). Repertoire included movements from the Telemann Sonatas, tangos that Mr. Kolker arranged, and some excerpts from the standard bassoon orchestral repertoire. Classes focused on fundamental technique, sound production and practicing methods.
After an intensive week of classes and rehearsals, friends and parents gathered in Griswold to hear more bassoon than one could ever ask for. The soloists and chamber ensembles dominated the stage with their presence, ending in one uproar of applause after another.