Lisa Alexander, bassoonist, is a solo recitalist and chamber musician in the New York metropolitan area and currently holds positions with The Ridgefield Symphony and The Little Orchestra Society. She is a founding member of the Glickman Ensemble, a bassoon chamber ensemble that has toured the United States and Europe. Ms. Alexander is Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at Hofstra University. She shares with us her career experience, reed making, synthetic reeds and all about Bassoons manufacturers and sound.
Woodwind Quintet – “Windscape” members, Tara Helen O’Connor, Randall Ellis, Alan R. Kay, David Jolley and Frank Morelli joined us for a lively conversations about their collaboration for over two decades of performing. We talked about their start, their first program and how they became associated with the Manhattan School of Music. Known for their thematic programing, they discuss how they; create arrangements, the process in road testing their new arrangements, finding new music, create programs and how to talk to an audience. We also spent time on the mundane logistics of getting five busy people together for rehearsals and how they have learned to rehearse efficiently. Throughout our conversation they focused on the importance of offering great music to audiences and focusing on the audience’s experience. From our conversation you can hear how much “joy” they have working together and their mutual esteem as colleagues allow them to work together so effectively.
Instrument case designer and maker, Howard Wiseman talked with Kevin Chavez during the summer 2014-Double Reed Conference in New York. Howard made his first case when he was 15 years old as a result of having difficulties carrying his heavy bassoon. The first order for a case was from his bassoon teacher, which lead to more requests for cases. While studying for a performance bassoon career, he continued making cases. Howard today continues to play and teach bassoon along side of his case and sports coaching businesses. Producing only bassoon cases for the first 13 years, he later branched out to other instruments and multiple instruments. A lifetime guarantee is offered with all his cases and he never compromising on quality. Known for his innovation, he is always looking towards new designs and projects following his passion for creating and building things.
Bassoon teacher George Sakakeeny shares his learning path as a master teacher and how his own playing was affected. He talks about; how mentors and other woodwind colleagues shaped his own teaching and playing music, his path to a professorship at Oberlin, managing a performance career and a teaching studio, the audition and evaluation process for Oberlin’s bassoon students, preparation advice for auditionees, choosing a new instrument and his teaching agenda for undergraduate students. Commenting on his e-book “Making Reeds Start to Finish With George Sakakeeny”, he talks about how the e-book has changed how he teaches reed making and why he pursued the challenge to write the book. As an active solo performer he shares the process in finding new works to premiere and record.
Bassoonist/Master Teacher, Frank Morelli, talks about his mentors/role models and how he came to classical music through the back door. While in high school playing the saxophone, he first thought he was going to be an engineer, later he went off to college pursuing a major in music education. His focus and determination on self-improvement lead him to write a letter to the professor of bassoon and transferring to the Manhattan School of Music (MSM). While at MSM his focus changed and his abilities grew. Dr. Morelli shares the secret of his success as a student and the tools for all students to be successful. As a master teacher he discusses his student-centered teaching philosophy and how he continues to focus on improving his teaching skills. He talks about the audition process for schools, the purpose for taking a lesson before the audition with possible teachers, and what he looks and listens for in a student. He offers timeless advice to all musicians for finding their own career path and how he measures his own success as a teacher.