Legends of Reed is an interview series conducted by Jo Anne Sukumaran with top double reed musicians from around the world. The aim of this podcast is to share knowledge, educate and inspire other musicians.
Martin Kuuskmann is a multiple Grammy-nominated Estonian-born bassoon virtuoso, Moosmann artist, and the Professor of Bassoon and Chamber Music at the University of Denver. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the Yale School of Music, his mentors include Stephen Maxym, Frank Morelli, Rufus Olivier and Ilmar Aasmets.
On this episode, we talk about his recent and upcoming projects, some of his favourite musicians and collaborators, his partnership with Moosmann bassoons, and some of the lessons he learnt in his career.
To find out more about him, please visit: http://kuuskmann.com
Welcome back to a brand new season of LOR.
In this episode (recorded in summer 2020) I interview Alban Wesly, a musician based in Amsterdam. He is proud to be the bassoonist/founding member of Calefax (Amsterdam) and to have been the bassoonist of Ensemble Musikfabrik (Cologne) for 22 years. Since September 2018 Alban teaches bassoon at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.
As the bassoonist of the award winning reed quintet Calefax and the internationally acclaimed Ensemble Musikfabrik Alban is considered as one of the most versatile bassoonists of this time. Calefax is one of the longest operating chamber music groups in the Netherlands, and worldwide trendsetter for a new genre: the Reed Quintet.
We talk about interesting topics such as touring, his interest in new music, tips on maintaining a chamber ensemble, making programming choices, and a funny travel anecdote of the "airline baggage crisis" in Aberdeen and much more.
To find out more about Alban, visit:
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Joost Flach’s long and fruitful musical journey as an oboist began in the Netherlands. During 1984, following the completion of his studies, he began a global search for work opportunities. This planted his migration and current residency to Singapore. Over the years this initial venture has blossomed, and developed into many opportunities throughout South-East Asia.
He has been a regular member (namely as Sub-Principal Oboist) of the Malaysian Philharmonic, The Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Since his retirement from the Malaysian Philharmonic in 2014, Joost has become more involved with teaching and education.
Connecting with Asian composers has evolved into the commissioning of several chamber music works that feature the oboe, and other works for wind ensembles. His multitude of skills as a performer, teacher and composer has also developed into the conducting of many wind ensembles. Through these experiences, he has witnessed enormous expansions within the Southeast-Asia music scene. Joost has also worked for the Ministry of Education in both Singapore and the Netherlands, and is currently Head of Winds at NAFA School of Music.
This episode is kindly contributed by Ole K. Dahl.
Ole interviewed his former teacher and mentor, Prof. Roger Birnstingl, during the polish bassoon festival Pracownia fagocisty 2020, thank you to our guest contributor and the festival director Arek Adamczyk for releasing this interview to our listeners!
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or feedback, we would love to hear from you,
please email us at email@example.com
Jaroslaw Augustyniak was born in Lodz, Poland in 1965. In 1988 he graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland with a master’s degree in Bassoon and Chamber Music. A year later he was a laureate in several prestigious competitions and then Jarek furthered his studies under the guidance of Vincenzo Menghini - RAI Turin.
Jarek was appointed as Principal Bassoon of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in December 2004. He joined BBC National Orchestra of Wales after a thirteen-year post as Principal Bassoon with the Basque National Orchestra, Spain.
His professional life has seen him to move from Poland, through Portugal, Spain and Denmark to the United Kingdom. He has been given the opportunity to play in almost all European countries and as far afield as the USA, Argentina, Chile and China - in many prestigious venues including Wien Konzerthaus, London Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw under many famous conductors. In addition, Jarek has fostered an active solo career,
He recorded soundtrack solo bassoon for the Anri Sala film “1395 Days Without Red” – followed by a solo appearance in Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. During his career Jarek has been a guest principal in many festivals and orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic.
We speak about how he is coping with the Covid-19 lockdown, the opportunities that the pandemic could bring, the origins of his online lecture series "Ventus Optimus", his collaboration with contemporary composer Julia Plaut involving a vacuum cleaner, how his wide travels and close family life influenced his artistic life and the intricacies of playing in a film soundtrack.
To find out more about him, visit: https://www.jaroslawaugustyniak.com/
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On this special bi-lingual episode I speak to Niño Rubén - a young and talented Spanish bassoonist.
He is joined by his friend Carmen Hildago, who assists us in translation.
One of the most fascinating, and innovative solo bassoonists currently. Rubén is also a great composer. He won the Special Prize of the 1stSeville Double Reed Society in Spain for his outstanding performance and musical talents. After his Bachelor studies, he became a finalist in the RTVE Virtuosos National Competition and started caving out his own unique path. Improvising and composing at a very young age, he has presented his own compositions at many festivals, and is particularly focused on researching the art of the flamenco.
We speak about interesting topics such as his passion for flamenco music, and the historical significance of the flamenco. We also talk about breaking barriers in classical music by making the bassoon the protoganist and soloist in concerts, how he started improvising and composing and his compositions and favourite concerts.
We also compare our creative process and discuss the connection between silence and creativity, how he found his own voice and compositional style and him searching and finding his artistic freedom. We also share some fun facts about ourselves and discuss collaborating on a Corona playlist together.
To find out more about him, please visit: https://www.ninoruben.net/
Rachel Bullen studied with Emanuel Abbühl and François Leleux in Europe after her initial studies in Melbourne. Rachel performed as an orchestral musician in Europe in many orchestras including the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, South Jutland Symphony Orchestra, and Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and has toured as a soloist in many European countries and she was a full-time chamber musician from 2010 - 2016 with Esbjerg Ensemble in Denmark. In 2016, Rachel returned to Australia permanently and played as guest principal oboe with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, and acting principal with Adelaide Symphony for most of 2019.
Currently, Rachel teaches at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, and performs as a freelancer.
We discuss interesting her musical influences and musical journey from Melbourne to Europe and interesting topics such as the importance of playing as naturally and effortlessly as possible, the importance of giving students the freedom to teach themselves, her most memorable chamber concert experience, the psychology behind peak performance, dealing with performance anxiety and overcoming professional setbacks that may arise while working as a foreign musician in Europe.
Study with Rachel:
I am very excited to share an interview I did with Rebekah Heller that was conducted in early April.
Rebekah is a solo bassoonist based in New York and has been praised for her “flair” and “deftly illuminated” performances by The New York Times.
Not only a uniquely dynamic solo and collaborative artist, she is fiercely committed to expanding the modern repertoire for the bassoon and has appeared as soloist with many prestigious orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic and is co-artistic director of the International Contemporary Ensemble.
Besides performing she has an active teaching career and teaches at the International Contemporary Ensemble's summer program, Ensemble Evolution, and is also on the bassoon faculty at the Mannes School of Music at The New School College of Performing Arts.
We had a fun chat about many topics including contemporary music, commissioning and working with composers, fund-raising, extended technique, covid-19 and share some of our surfing mishaps!
To find out more about Rebekah, visit her website: http://www.rebekahheller.com/
To support the podcast, you could consider supporting me here: https://joannesukumaran.bandcamp.com/
Welcome to a special edition of Legends of Reed.
Big thanks to Kristian Oma Ronnes for this contribution.
Today I am very glad and grateful to feature a guest contribution from Kristian Oma Ronnes. Together with Arek Adamczyk, they hosted an online lecture on Zoom for bassoon students and graduates from the Music Academy in Poznan. This lecture was chaired by guest speaker Prof. Ole K. Dahl from Muho Mannheim. The subject of this lecture is “How to get the most of your practicing when time is limited”.
These are very difficult and strange times for the arts and artists.
Working and practicing from home can be challenging and isolating if your neighbours are not fans of practicing.
Listen in as Ole gives valuable advice on the value of maintaining a regular routine and do a compressed version of Drills and he even takes questions from Facebook live. Don’t forget to check out Kristian’s interview with me in Season 1.
Please stay well and healthy and enjoy the lecture.
Solo bassoonist, Nadina Mackie Jackson is the most widely recorded Canadian bassoonist in history with 13 solo albums, 8 chamber music recordings and dozens of albums with symphony, chamber and historical instrument orchestras. A true communicator, she combines her love for images, words and music in many unique concert series.
Nadina speaks about her musical origins, and how she came to become a solo bassoonist. She not only produces her own concerts but she is also a visual artist.
She discusses key topics like the importance of releasing music, fundraising and the importance of having a written contract. She is very mindful of the challenges faced by young bassoonists and explains that obstacles actually test one’s commitment. She also shares on her concert series “Bassoon Out Loud”, “Darwood’s Wild Bassoon”, “Ophelia Speaks”. She established the Council of Canadian Bassoonists to support young Canadian bassoonists and discusses her teaching career. I even find out why she has blue hair!
For more infö, please visit: https://nadinamackiejackson.com/
Support the Council of Canadian Bassoonists: https://www.councilofcanadianbassoonists.ca
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James is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Decoda, co-principal oboist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Artistic and Executive Director of Tertulia, a chamber music series that takes place in restaurants in New York and San Francisco He is a member of the oboe and chamber music faculties of Stony Brook University and the Manhattan School of Music.
On this episode, I speak to James about very interesting topics:
· his musical origins,
· his chamber music series, Tertulia,
· the power of chamber music & how he came to focus on it
· what qualities presenters look for when booking artists
· how to “turn the dial” as classical musicians and grow new audiences
· how he stays inspired and how to keep an interpretation “fresh”
· the benefits of having a life outside music
· his "dream programme” and more.
To find out more about James, please visit:
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You could consider supporting me here on band camp:
Kristian is a young and accomplished Norwegian Composer & Bassoonist. He is currently Principal Bassoon at The Baltic Opera in Poland since 2018. He studied bassoon with Robert Ronnes, Dag Jensen, Ole K. Dahl and Klaus Thunemann.
His YouTube channel has been awarded one of top 25 channels in the world and he tirelessly contributes to the bassoon world by his many arrangements, restorations and his research for extended technique, fingerings and his discoveries of unknown works. He became a Moosmann artist at age 26.
Quote from interview:
“I think that professionalism doesn’t automatically come with winning an audition.”
Some topics we discuss:
- the current conservatory education system and subjects conservatories Kristian feels conservatories should focus on to help students get a job.
- The wide range of career options available now for a musician, besides the orchestral path.
- an ideal practicing schedule, the importance of challenging oneself and pushing one against one’s limits.
- The advice he received from Klaus Thunemann on practicing
- Some of his personal audition tips and how to stand out from the crowd.
- What motivates him
- How we can promote the bassoon
- Which composer he would like to have lunch with.
- His interesting story of him playing Rite of Spring for the first time and the surprise guest in the audience.
- His collaboration with Bernd Moosmann to develop the bassoon’s mechanic.
To find out more about Kristian, please visit:
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Jeffrey Lyman is Professor of Bassoon at the University of Michigan. has established himself as one of the premier performers, teachers, and historians of the bassoon in the U.S.
He coordinates two popular YouTube channels: one with more than 160 live recordings of Lyman and his students at the University of Michigan, and the other featuring trios and duos for oboe, bassoon and piano with Nancy Ambrose King and Martin Katz.
On this episode, I find out how
· Jeffrey maintains such an exciting & diverse and bassoon studio.
· We talk about one of his students - Euceph Yousef El-Magharbel who makes cool, bassoon funk videos. His recommendations for unique composers.
· The weirdest places he has ever performed and practiced in.
· The most important career advice he has ever received.
· We discuss should musicians (ever) accept non-paying gigs for exposure.
· How can one deal with naysayers and detractors as a musician, for e.g. internet trolls?
· How to commission a composer as a musician
· If he could sum up your life in a book title, what would it be?
· Some of his upcoming projects
· What he likes to do in his free time and hobbies.
To find out more about him, please visit: http://www.jefflymanbassoon.com
If you have enjoyed this podcast, please consider supporting me on Patreon:
This episode features Ukrainian oboe soloist and chamber musician, Mykyta Sierov. He is an independent oboist based in Weimar, Germany – he not only plays classical music, but jazz and pop as well as his own compositions.
Since 2016 he is the solo oboist of his band, “Bosque Magico” and they have recorded in their first album “Tu Tiempo” and the band is currently touring and promoting this album in Europe and Asia.
He is highly creative, with lots of ideas and energy and explains how he manages his own career and gives valuable tips to others interested in a similar career path.
To find out more about Mykyta: visit
To find out more about Bosque Magico:
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Recorded: 12 December 2018
Please note that this interview has quite some background noise from the concert hall.
I managed to have a chat with Sophie Dervaux backstage in the world-renowned Vienna Musikverein Hall in December 2018. Sophie joined the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic as principal bassoon in 2015. Previously, she was principal contrabassoon of the Berlin Philharmonic from 2013 until 2015.
I find out about Sophie’s favourite composers, upcoming projects and other interesting topics. Sophie shares with us her musical origins and how she chose the bassoon, after initially starting on the guitar and clarinet.
She also tells us some of her most memorable concerts, being an advocate for the bassoon and the responsibility of the new generation to promote and create awareness for the instrument. She also takes us back to the day she won the job at the Vienna State Opera.
Enjoy listening, and subscribe or share!
To find out more about Sophie, please visit her website:
If you have enjoyed this podcast, and would like to support me make better content:
Special thanks to Marcello Malatesta, for editing this audio.
Audun is the Principal Bassoon of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He teaches Bassoon at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and is Associate Prof. of Bassoon at The Oslo Academy of Music. I managed to catch up with him in person, in Hamburg after his two-day masterclass at Tutti Fagotti. Audun is currently on sabbatical leave from his orchestral position in Copenhagen.
Find out about Audun's recent tour to Shanghai with Lucerne Festival Orchestra, his opinion on sound, and auditioning, the importance of vowels, mental strength and we round off with a fun chat about the Vikings.
To find out more about Audun's bassoon studio:
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Malte is the Professor of Bassoon at Folkwang University of the Arts, in Essen, Germany.
He is an exceptional teacher, soloist, and leads a very vibrant and successful bassoon class.
1) what he loves the most of teaching & coaching young people
2) the many career routes a student can now pursue in classical music
3) his approach in bringing out the best in his students
4) his main musical inspirations
5) what kind of reeds he uses
6) the reason why he retired from NDR Radiophilharmonie
7) his fondest memories of playing with NDR
8) how to approach stressful moments
9) the importance of self-management & self-talk
10) what he enjoys doing in his free time
Join in his next masterclass at Starnberger Musiktage:
Connect with Malte on FB:
Paul is an award-winning jazz and fusion bassoonist with a unique musical voice.
1) His musical background and him finding his calling in the bassoon
2) Despite his classical training and being told it was “a hard road ahead”, his love for improvisation shifted him seriously towards jazz, groove and funk
3) His love for spontaneity & improvisation
4) His practical tips on how to get better at improvisation
5) His personal set-up to play amplified bassoon
6) How he started working with Cirque du Soleil’s ZED and his time in Japan
7) His reflections on his career, about the high level of bassoon playing worldwide
8) Bassoon is not widely known for jazz & rhythmic playing
9) His main musical inspirations and favourite bands
10) Who he would like to collaborate with (living/dead)
11) One of his biggest career lessons
12) His upcoming projects
To find out more about Paul visit:
Lessons on jazz bassoon:
Useful tool for improvisation:
On this episode I speak to Roman Reznik. Roman Reznik is the Co-principal bassoon of the Oslo Philharmonic, conductor and teacher.
1) His musical beginnings
2) His musical inspirations
3) How he started conducting
4) His love for baroque music
5) His harp-bassoon duo with his wife
6) Tips on sound and getting ready for a studio recording
7) Type of reeds he uses
8) Upcoming projects and free time
9) Advice for young musicians
Listen to his album here:
Welcome to Episode 2 of Legends of Reed!
I interviewed Ole K. Dahl recently. He is Professor of Bassoon at MuHo Mannheim and Guest Principal Bassoon in famous orchestras and ensembles. Due to his deep dedication and passion to teaching, Ole has been invited to give masterclasses all over the world. He is the co-author of the bassoon method book "Drills".
In this episode, I find out why Ole published Drills, what we can expect in Drills 2.0, how he maintains such a successful bassoon studio and other interesting topics.
To find out more about Ole, please visit his website:
On this pilot episode, I am thrilled to interview Bram van Sambeek.
Known for his bold and innovative artistic and programming choices, find out why Bram chose to focus on chamber music, the nomination of his "Fagerlund & Aho Bassoon Concertos" album in the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award, and more.
To find out more about Bram, visit his website: bramvansambeek.com
Legends of Reed is an interview series by Jo Anne Sukumaran, for more information visit: joannesukumaran.com