I was a young bassoon student (the case almost touched the ground when I carried it by the handle) taking lessons once a week with Wilbur Simpson (for many years second bassoonist with the Chicago Symphony). One week, before we headed upstairs to his bassoon studio, he ushered me into the living room and said, “I want you to hear this!” He carefully laid an LP on the turntable, located the needle and turned up the volume. Enthusiastically, he exclaimed, “Wait ’til you hear this–a french bassoonist with a marvelous tone!” For my first experience hearing the french bassoon, I was blessed with the round sound of the incomparable Maurice Allard (1923-2004) performing Boismortier’s Concerto in D. Read William Waterhouse’s biographical sketch.
The Glickman/Popkin Bassoon Camp is a ten-day summer camp for bassoonists 18 years of age and above, of any skill level.
DATES for the 2016 Glickman Popkin Bassoon Camp
May 30 – June 9
Each day includes master classes, reed making classes, ensemble activities and recital hours. Also included are bassoon repairs, bassoon makers, music and tool vendors, and many ways to relax and learn through social engagements.
Established in 1978 by Loren Glickman and Mark Popkin and located at the beautiful Wildacres Retreat Center in Little Switzerland, NC.
This year, the guest artists are:
- Andrew Cuneo, principal, St. Louis Symphony;
- David McGill, professor of bassoon at Northwestern University and former principal, Chicago Symphony;
- Harrison Hollingsworth, principal, New York City Ballet Orchestra.
A limited number of scholarships are available for those students who apply and meet the requirements.
Here’s a quick shopping list for the (few) tools needed for beginning reed making/adjusting:
Mandrel. I recommend the forming mandrel #2130 sold by Womble Williams. You can make your own holding mandrel with a mandrel pin and a do-it-yourself handle.
Pliers. I made many reeds with a pair of 6-inch needle-nose pliers I purchased at Ace Hardware in 1970. Just be sure your pliers have a built-in wire cutter.
Wire. #22 soft brass wire is best. Sometimes craft stores carry wire like this, but you may want to check the double reed shops.Plaque. It is important to protect the reed when you are working on it. I like a traditional arrow-head contoured plaque–available at double reed shops.
File. I like my Grobet files, but any 4-inch warding file will do the trick.
Sandpaper. #400 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper is very handy. I use it to sand the reed tip (to improve response) and for fine finishing of the reed blades.
We like to use cotton thread to wrap bassoon reeds. Nylon thread tends to stretch and squeeze the tube closed. Cotton #10 crochet thread is an inexpensive alternative to the various specialty string available for wrapping reeds, and it’s available in many colors!
Duco is probably the most popular glue used to seal and waterproof the thread.
Baroquemusic.it is a terrific resource! There are a few solo pieces for bassoon (including two Vivaldi concertos—RV501 and RV487—and the Boismortier concerto in D) and considerable chamber music with prominent bassoon parts (e.g. Zelenka trio sonata #5, ZWV 181). A special favorite of mine is Biagio Marini’s Affetti Musicali (1617) which features great early Baroque writing for bassoon. The scores are immaculate, many produced directly from manuscripts. MIDI files are included. We used the MIDI files for a concerto in Garageband to easily create a handy accompaniment (muting the solo track and adjusting the tempo) for practicing. The editions are also indexed and linked through IMSLP.
Last week, I had the great good fortune to have my bassoon adjusted by Paul Nordby in Indianapolis. What a genuinely nice man and wonderful bassoon specialist! My bassoon plays better than ever! In the 1970s, I had taken a bassoon to James Laslie, the terrific bassoon repair expert with whom Paul apprenticed. I think Mr. Nordby is every bit the skilled craftsman and artist Mr. Laslie was—what an outstanding legacy! It takes about four months lead time to schedule an appointment with Paul Nordby, and it is well worth it. I thought I knew what needed attention, but when Paul was finished, he had eliminated numerous leaks and plenty of key slop. I’m such a jock, I just play the instrument I have in front of me. Mr. Nordby knew what I REALLY needed to make my instrument EXCELLENT!