My Bassoon Quartet - Standard Rep. Formed back in September and have been performing works written by professionals, creating our own arrangements, and have been doing commissions for students from the University of Illinois and Millikin University. Members are: Claire Taylor, Marcus Westbrook, Christopher Raymond, and Elliot Cobb. If you are interested in having us perform for an event, or for a collaboration project, please contact me.
Johann Fasch – Sonata in C Major
If any bassoonist wants to study some great baroque repertoire for bassoon (that isn’t Vivaldi), it wouldn’t be long before they would encounter Sonata in C Major by Johann Fasch. A wonderful work in four movements, it is a piece that can sound virtuosic and be easy on the fingers!
Johann Friedrich Fasch was born on April 15, 1688 in the town of Buttelstedt, near Weimar, Germany. He came from a family of clerics and lawyers, so his musical training did not begin until he joined the Court Chapel of Weissenfels as a choir boy. That was when his met his primary childhood teacher – Johann Philipp Krieger. In 1701 he was offered a chance to study composition privately with Johann Kuhnau in Leipzig, Fasch couldn’t afford it, so he taught himself using the music of one of his closest friends – Georg Phillip Telemann (Küntzel).
He spent his time at the University of Leipzig studying Theology and Law, but created success for himself in music when he founded the Second Collegium Musicum – a semiprofessional ensemble which performed on a regular basis. By 1711 he made a name for himself by writing operas for the Peter-Paul Fairs in Naumburg. Unable to afford a trip to Italy, he left Naumburg and traveled all over Germany where he picked up residential composer jobs in Darmstadt and studied with Christoph Graupner. He additionally worked in Bayreuth as a violinist, a civil servant in Gera, an organist in Greiz and as a working composer in Prague (Preface). In 1722 he accepted a job as a composer at Anhalt-Zerbst where he served for 36 years until he passed away on December 5, 1758. Over his years, he wrote masses, wind chamber music, orchestral suites, and concertos (Küntzel). Fasch’s Sonata in C Maj was written in 1720, and was originally just a work for bass clef instrument and continuo (IMSLP). The closest version of the work is a handwritten copy of the work that is kept at the Fuerstenberg-Herdringen Library in Arnsberg (Preface). This sonata is in four movements – Largo, Allegro, Andante, Allegro assai, modeled after the form used in Telemann’s sonatas, which was a version of binary form (AABB).
When it comes to learning a baroque work in the 21st century, bassoonists will either do as much as they can for historical accuracy, or a minimal amount of work. There are basics that I believe all bassoonists should learn about playing baroque music such as use of vibrato (or lack of) and understanding good places for ornamentation. But, to be historically accurate, it would take a baroque bassoon and years of study to get a rough idea of how this music sounded back then. As an overview, here’s what I think is important to understand for anyone wanting to perform it.
Kim Walker, “Sonates Baroques” recorded in 1987.
Epocca Barocca, “Johann Friendrich Fasch – Trios and Sonatas” – recorded in 2007
Sergio Azzolini, “Sonata in do maggiore per fagotto e basso continuo” – uploaded to YouTube in 2011.
Carl Maria von Weber – Concerto in F Major Op. 75
Only second to Mozart’s concerto, the Bassoon Concerto in F Major Op. 75 by Carl Maria von Weber is the most performed bassoon concertos and become critical for all serious bassoon players to learn. However, during Weber’s lifetime he had the most success as an opera composer rather than instrumental music.
Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was born November 18, 1786 in Eutin, Holstein Germany. He was born into a musical and theatrical family where his father, Franz Anton Weber owned a small traveling theatre company. As a child, Weber developed a hip condition that caused him to limp throughout his entire life. Nevertheless, he still showed musical talent which led him to studying with various teachers. Among them was Michael Haydn, the younger brother of composer Joseph Haydn. As a teenager, his first two opera, Das Waldmädchen (1800) and Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn (1803) failed, but his luck does change later on in his life. Throughout the next couple decades Weber traveled to several cities as a music director in such cities as Prague, Berlin, and Munich, writing various works such as his Concertino for Clarinet and his first two symphonies (Carl).
Weber did not get national attention until 1821 when he premiered his opera Der Freischütz (The Freeshooter). Weber was working in Dresden – a city that worshipped Italian operas and French works. As a composer from the German National Opera in Berlin, his premiere of Der Freischütz not only helped patrons break away from Italian and French works, the style to which this opera was written became a foundation of 19th century operas to come – making Weber a national hero (Carl). Other monumental operas that followed by Weber include Euryanthe, and Oberon (written in English). At this point in his life, Weber was ill and barely able to walk. Before Oberon was premiered Weber had moved to London. After a successful run, Weber had made plans to return home to his family but was found dead in his room on June 5, 1826 (Carl). His Concerto for Bassoon Op. 75 was written in 1811 and was premiered November 26 of that year. It was during Weber’s time in Munich and the King had commissioned it for the bassoonist Georg Friedrich Brand (Tusa). Another significant work for bassoon by Weber for Brand was his Andante e Rondo Ungarese Op. 35 in 1813, a work originally for viola which premiered beforehand in 1809(Kritzer).
The form of the first two movements is written in a sonata-allegro form while the third movement is a rondo. As analytical as we want to be about music at times, I had a unique experience learning this piece that made me think more creatively. A former teacher, Beth Shoemaker, gave me incredible advice about learning this piece that I will pass on to any student who is learning it. She asked me, “If the bassoon concerto was an opera, what would it look like? What would the plot be and how would the bassoon solo portray it all?” It made me ponder on all the various melodies in all the movements. While I developed a deep connection to the music, plenty of things came to mind: The hero’s opening entrance, the bustling town’s people, the love interest, the ego, the quarrel, love and tragedy, and a joyous, almost comedic finale. These various descriptions not only depict my interpretation of the important themes in the bassoon solo sequentially, but it coincidentally makes a good plot line for any stage production. I’ll go into detail about each of these below.
Valeri Popv – Russian State Symphony – conducted by Valeri Polyansky, recorded in 1998.
Klaus Thunemann – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields – conducted by Sir Neville Mariner, recorded in 1991.
Michelle Rosen – The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia – conducted by Ignat Solzhenitsyn, recorded in 2013.
Edward Elgar – Romance op. 62
Elgar’s Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra has become a milestone for any bassoonist who wants to learn the most standard of repertoire. The beautiful, sweet nature of the solo behind a lush chamber orchestra makes it appealing to any listener of classical music to enjoy. Although this work is not the most technically challenging, this work is not recommended for younger bassoonists because of a mature understanding of phrasing and the subtle control needed to perform this work effectively.
Sir Edward William Elgar is an English composer born on June 2, 1857 near Worcester, England. He grew up in a heavy musical environment since his father owned a music shop He learned a wide variety of instruments, including the bassoon. What made Elgar unique was that beyond his father teaching him music, he did not receive a formal training in composing. In the 1880’s and 90’s he worked locally conducting and composing music ensembles in Worcester, and served as the organist for St. George’s Roman Catholic Church. His reputation began to spread until 1899 when he wrote his most famous work Variations on an Original Theme, or simply titled Enigma Variations. This work remains popular in orchestral repertoire for its technical accomplishment and great musical forces that showed off Elgar’s raw genius (Lace).
Through the early 1900’s Elgar had great success as a composer all across England by continuing to write well known works such as the first two Pomp and Circumstance Marches in 1901. These events led him to being knighted by King Edward VII by July 1904. In his later years, Elgar composed two symphonies, several chamber music works, and more stand-alone pieces until a new revolution of music after World War I causing Elgar to take an early retirement. He lived out in the country and made occasional conducting appearances until he died in 1934 (Lace).
Elgar wrote Romance in 1910 as a part of three short distinct works composed at the time and is the only work he wrote for bassoon solo. Elgar had made a promise to write a piece for Edwin James, the principal bassoonist of the London Symphony Orchestra, who premiered it in 1911. Elgar and James were not that close, and the work was written more for his years of service rather than a personal reason (Elgar). When a bassoonist looks at this piece, there is a few big items to observer before they start practicing it. First, the overall form looks similar to a sonata-allegro form. There’s an A section with two theme, a B section, a recap of the A section ending with the coda section. Second, the bassoon never goes above forte, and there are zero staccato or marcatos in the work. All the phrases are slurred or have tenuto markings. This easily shows how controlled the articulations have to be. Finally, there are plenty of low notes that have to speak quietly, while several high notes have to sing out on the tops of phrases.
As a bassoonist begins practicing, they should play it first for rhythmic accuracy and no use of rubato yet, making sure there is a distinction between triplets and duple notes and that the few runs throughout the piece are clean. Additionally, since there are lots of slurs and no harsh entrances, they should listen for any cracking of notes throughout. Use the flick keys or vent as needed for as pure of a tone as you can. Once you include dynamics, phrasing can be added. One nice part about this piece is that Elgar was specific about a lot of the rubato, ritardandos, and accelerandos in this piece. As a bassoonist follows these to create phrases, they should remember that they are not short two bar phrases so the performer paints a bigger picture in the music.
Karen Geoghegan – Opera North Orchestra – Conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch, recorded in 2000.
Klaus Thunemann – Conducted by Sir Neville Mariner, uploaded to YouTube in 2010.
Recording by the London Philharmonic Orchestra – conducted by Daniel Barenboim, recorded in 1994.
John Williams – The Five Sacred Trees
The Five Sacred Trees has become one of the greatest bassoon concertos in the past century. The soloist gets to perform some of the most gentle, beautiful ways ever written for the instrument and develop into showing incredible virtuosity and intensity that can keep listeners on the edge of their seat. On top of these musical aspects that will be elaborated later, this piece gained much interest because it was written by the most famous film composer alive – John Williams.
Williams was born in New York City in February of 1932 and moved to Los Angeles in 1948. His father was an accomplished jazz drummer who worked with Hollywood studio orchestras. He grew up learning piano along with a few wind instruments – which led him to an early career as an arranger and conductor. One of his first professional gigs was with the United States Air Force Bands from 1952-1954. By 1959 he wrote his first film score for the movie Daddy-O and earned his first Academy Award in 1971 for his screen adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof. Williams has become well-known around the world for his film scores, especially the music for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jaws, Superman, Jurassic Park, E.T, and many more. In the 1980’s and early 90’s, Williams conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra, and currently holds the position of laureate conductor. Williams currently has received 20 Grammy Awards and 45 Academy Award nominations (Williams, John Towner).
The Five Sacred Trees is his only bassoon solo work and it was written in 1993 then premiered in 1995 for the New York Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary. This piece was written to be performed by the current principal bassoonist Judith LeClair and was inspired by ancient Celtic mythology and old English poetry. Williams wrote in the score that thousands of years ago, our ancestors would perform prayers to the spirits before knocking down a tree. Prayers were specific based on the type of tree (oak, yew, ash, etc.). The English poet Robert Graves once wrote of these prayers, but his work has been lost from over the centuries. Each movement is structured similarly to a rounded-binary form, but Williams wrote specifically how each movement is different stylistically, and how it connects to the meaning of the ancient spirits of the types of trees represented (Williams). I personally find these notes critical in trying to understand this concerto.
“Eó Mugna, the great oak, whose roots extend to Connla’s Well in the “otherworld,” stands guard over what is the source of the River Shannon and the font of all wisdom. The well is probably the source of all music, too. The inspiration for this movement is the Irish Uilleann pipe, a distant ancestor of the bassoon, whose music evokes the spirit of Mugna and the sacred well.
Tortan is the tree that has been associated with witches and as a result, the fiddle appears, sawing away, as it is conjoined with the music of the bassoon. The Irish Bodhrán drum assists.
The Tree of Ross (or Eó Rossa) is a yew, and although the yew is often referred to as a symbol of death and destruction, the Tree of Ross is the subject of much rhapsodizing in the literature. It is referred to as “a mother’s good,” “Diadem of angels,” and “faggot of the sages.” Hence, the lyrical character of the movement, wherein the bassoon incants and is accompanied by the harp!
Craeb Uisnig is an ash and has been described by Robert Graves as a source of strife. Thus, a ghostly battle, where all that is heard as the phantoms struggle, is the snapping of twigs on the forest floor.
Dahti, which purportedly exercised authority over the Poets, and was the last tree to fall, is the subject for the close of this piece. The bassoon soliloquizes as it ponders the secrets of the Trees.”
- John Williams, The Five Sacred Trees program notes
These program notes not only express the diversity of the work, but do provide hints on preparing this work. For the first movement, Williams references Uilleann Pipes as the inspiration. The opening cadenza shows all the rapid embellishments and runs that ornament the long notes around them, which is traditional of Uilleann Pipe playing. When I was preparing this solo with the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra, I found a great video of a gentleman named Davy Spillane playing Caoineadh Cu Chulainn (Irish meaning “The Weeping of CuChulainn”) with orchestral accompiament. This video and the first movement had a lot in common, and I really listened to how he phrased the melodic line and how he handled performing ornaments (Spillane). Once a performer understands a bit about the style, the next hardest part is translating the music. The first movement is mostly in a slow six beats per measure with the bassoon having lots of runs. Practicing the rhythms and counting comes first when approaching this. Beyond the cadenzas, most of the solo has a lot of two bar phrases. Additionally, I practiced this movement thinking of quartal harmony based around G-C-F and would practice with these notes droning.
The second movement is in a slow two beats per measure yet is energetic. This movement is much like in the first where practicing the rhythm slowly and accurately is crucial. It should be practiced like it is in a moderate 4 beats per measure then work your way up to a slow two beats. Williams wrote that the violin saws away during this movement, and serves as a duet partner. The flute partners with the bassoon in the legato mid-section. Anyone working on this movement should study and see how those solo parts fit into the bassoon.
In recital settings, the third movement is often performed with a harpist playing the piano reduction. It is because that is the only instrument used in the orchestration for most of the movement and thus sounds more authentic. Williams describes the bassoon as “incanting” or “rhapsodizing” in a lyrical way based around the yew – a symbol for death. The solo part is technically much simpler than the previous movements, but the expression and choice of phrasing makes this movement a challenge. As one studies the solo, people usually aim for two or four bar phrases. I personally prefer the latter.
I found the fourth movement to be the most challenging movement of the entire concerto. The style of the movement is intense, while the bassoon solo part almost sounds spontaneous with its intense articulations and fast intervals and runs. The percussion section is a big feature in this movement. Attempting to rewrite percussion parts for piano seems to turn out lackluster at best. In preparation (similarly to earlier movements), learn the rhythms slowly, study what is happening in the accompiament, and devise a strategy for phrasing. Fabulous technique is required for the runs, tremolos and use of the full range of the instrument. Find a fingering that is going to work well for the high Eb for this movement and the next one.
The final movement is unique to me because while the first four movements felt like musical statements to me, the fifth movement feels like a musical question. Williams writes “The bassoon soliloquizes as it ponders the secrets of the trees.” The final notes of the whole concerto do not leave the listener with a sense of resolution, but rather in a sense of wonder. This movement uses a lot of rubato, thus anyone preparing it should regularly question their phrasing.
Judith LeClair – London Symphony Orchestra – conducted by John Williams, recorded in 1997.
Robert Williams – Detroit Symphony Orchestra – conducted by Leonard Slatkin, recorded in 2015.
"Bassoon Sonata, FaWV N:C1 (Fasch, Johann Friedrich)." IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://imslp.org/wiki/Bassoon_Sonata,_FaWV_N:C1_%28Fasch,_Johann_Friedrich%2 9>.
"Carl Maria Von Weber | German Composer and Musician." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015. <http://www.britannica.com/biography/Carl-Maria-von-Weber>.
Davy Spillane. Caoineadh Cu Chulainn. 2011. YouTube. Web. 7 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwxga8udIio>.
"Edward Elgar - Romance for Bassoon & Orchestra." YouTube. YouTube, 20 Nov. 2010. Web. 09 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M18dApHK5Go>.
"Elgar - His Music Other Music For Small Orchestra." Elgar. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.elgar.org/3smalls.htm>.
Elgar, Edward. "Romance, Op.62." - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015. <http://imslp.org/wiki/Romance,_Op.62_%28Elgar,_Edward%29>.
Epoca Barocca. Johann Friedrich Fasch - Trios & Sonatas. Deutschlandfunk, 2007. CD.
Fasch, Johann Friedrich. Sonata in C Major for Bassoon and Basso Continuo. Vienna: Universal Edition, 1988. Print.
Geoghegan, Karen, perf. Romance, Op. 62. Opera North Orchestra. Chandos, 2000. CD.
"Johann Friedrich Fasch: A Biographical Note." Baroque Composers and Musicians. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxfasch.html>.
"Johann Friedrich Fasch, Sonata in Do Maggiore per Fagotto E Basso Continuo." YouTube. Ed. Sergio Azzolini. YouTube, 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd8zA6bGVN4>.
Küntzel, Gottfried. "Fasch, Johann Friedrich." Oxford Music Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/subscriber/article/grove/ music/09346?q=Johann%2BFasch&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit>.
Kritzer, Melissa. "Discovering the “Hungarian” in Andante and Rondo : A Historical Approach to a Standard Bassoon Solo." (n.d.): 4. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <http://nycbassoon.com/dissertation>.
Lace, Ian. "Sir Edward Elgar A Short Biography." Elgar. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.elgar.org/2english.htm>.
LeClair, Judith, perf. The Five Sacred Trees. London Symhpony Orchestra. Sony, 1997. CD.
London Philharmonic Orchestra. Elgar: Symphony No. 1, "Cockaigne" Overture, Romance. Cond. Daniel Barenboim. Sony Essential Classics, 1994. CD.
Popov, Valeri, perf. Mozart, Weber, Hummel - Bassoon Concertos. Russian State Symphony Orchestra. Chandos, 1998. CD.
Preface. J. F. Fasch - Sonata C Major for Bassoon and Basso Continuo. Ed. Milan Turkovic. Vienna: Universal Edition, 1988. N. pag. Print.
Rosen, Michelle, perf. Weber: Bassoon Concerto, Konzertstuck & Symphony No. 1. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. 2013. CD.
Thunemann, Klaus, perf. Hummel / Weber: Bassoon Concertos. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Philips, 1991. CD.
Tusa, Michael C., comp. "Weber: (9) Carl Maria Von Weber." Oxford Music Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/subscriber/article/grove/ music/40313pg9?q=carl+maria+von+weber&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit>.
Walker, Kim, perf. Sonates Baroques. Kim Walker - Basson Solo. Gallo, 1987. CD.
Williams, John. The Five Sacred Trees - Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (Orchestral Score). 1st ed. N.p.: Deep Dell Music, 1993. Print.
Williams, John. The Five Sacred Trees - Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (Piano Reduction). 2nd ed. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 1993. Print.
"Williams, John (Towner)." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2015, 1p. World Book, Inc., Chicago, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Williams, Robert, perf. 5 Sacred Trees. Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Naxos, 2015. CD.
Meganna Miller, Staff Writer
February 12, 2014
Before this semester even began a group of eager wind players came back to school early to audition for a solo opportunity here at Millikin. There could only be two winners of this honor and I had the pleasure of talking to one of them: Christopher Raymond. The other winner of this solo competition was Hikari Yoshida who will be playing the flute with the Concert Band.
Raymond is a junior Bassoon Performance Major. Coming to Millikin from a town called Bourbonnais, he started out as an Instrumental Music Education Major. Eventually he realized his talents would be better served not in a classroom, but in a concert hall.
Over winter break he had to prepare the piece for the audition. The problem with this is that he was in China over break because he had the opportunity to play with an orchestra there. So he had a pretty busy winter break! In terms of the actual audition Raymond said, “Auditions are always a little nerve racking for me. I’ll never get used to the nerved and adrenaline from it.”
He doesn’t always practice practice practice though. When he is not stuck in PMC he can be found bonding with his brothers in Phi Mu Alpha. When he is not doing that he says he can also be found “with my girlfriend out and about. I also like to just sit and watch anime with my roommate and burn through all my flex.” On the random side his favorite color is red. When it comes to tasty treats you will most likely not find him eating ice cream since he does not like it.
We must recognize him for his achievements and his performance abilities. Now he has the chance to use this ability, thanks to this concert. The concert will take place Friday, May 2 in KFAC. Raymond will be playing the concerto for bassoon and wind ensemble by Frigyes Hidas. He will perform this with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
Millikin University's School of Music is pleased to announce Chris Raymond (bassoon), senior instrumental music performance major from Bourbonnais, Ill., the winner of the 2015 Hollis Prize Competition Recital.
Held on March 21 in Kaeuper Hall, Perkinson Music Center, the Hollis Prize Recital featured performances from Millikin University's top three music performing students, including: Abigail Karnes (soprano), junior vocal performance major with a theatre minor from Kearney, Mo., and Chloe Raffe (soprano), junior vocal performance major from Des Plaines, Ill.
The Hollis Prize is the highest award that may be received by a student instrumentalist or vocalist within the Millikin School of Music. First awarded in spring 2003, Millikin is one of only a few schools in the country to offer this type of prestigious prize through a music competition.
"I am beyond words for how humbled and honored I am for receiving the Hollis Prize," said Raymond. "From the day I was selected as a finalist I already felt like a winner, and because Abagail Karnes and Chloe Raffe are spectacular musicians, it has made the past few weeks quite exciting."
The winner of the Hollis Prize was chosen by outside faculty judges and received a $2000 award; runners-up each received $500.
In recognition of this achievement, Raymond will perform a recital on Sunday, April 26, at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Ill., beginning at 2 p.m.
"The Hollis recital was a marvelous event with all three students giving excellent performances," said Dr. Stephen Widenhofer, director of Millikin University's School of Music. "Chris Raymond will represent the School of Music well as the Hollis Prize winner and at the Chicagoland concert in Elgin."
Raymond added, "Winning the Hollis Prize was a long-term goal of mine that I had set my eyes on since my freshman year at Millikin. From the moment I walked offstage at the Hollis finals until now, I have been reflecting on my past performance, appreciating the good things that happened and deciding what parts of my playing could have gone better. I am excited to perform again because I want to continue working and give an even better performance."
The Hollis Prize Recital is generously funded by Dr. C. Kimm Hollis, a 1972 Millikin graduate, and professor of music and artist in residence at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind.
Artist Spotlight: Christopher Raymond
Miranda Little , Staff Writer
October 16, 2013
Junior Christopher Raymond has a passion for music. He picked up the Bassoon at the age of 13, after originally starting on the Oboe in beginning band. Chris also played the Tenor Saxophone in high school in order to take part in marching band.
Here at Millikin, Chris plays Bassoon in the Millikin Wind Ensemble, Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, and the Eidolan Woodwind Quintet. In the past year, Chris has greatly made his name known. Not only did he win the 2012-2013 Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra Concerto-Aria competition, but he was also a finalist in Millikin’s Hollis Prize competition, which came with a $500 cash prize.
Away from Millikin, Chris plays in the Urbana Pops Orchestra in Urbana, Il, and has been the principal bassoonist for the past two years. Recently, Chris has been asked to play with the South Shore Orchestra out of Valparaiso, Ind. on tour in China. The trip will take place over winter break, and he will travel through eight different Chinese cities and play with the orchestra in seven of them. “By the time this trip is over, I will have performed in more concerts in major Chinese cities than American cities,” Raymond said.
Chris has many favorite parts of performing, in both ensembles and solos he achieves his goal of musical excellence. As a member of an ensemble, he becomes one small, yet important, piece of the puzzle. The bassoon is somewhat of a rarity in the musical world. To Chris, playing the bassoon as a soloist is sharing his passion with the audience. He says, “In my head, it is as if I am trying to convince the audience through my music that the bassoon is the coolest thing in the world!” When he graduates, he plans to further his studies of the bassoon in graduate school. He dreams of being a bassoon professor by day and a performer by night.