Blog

Join the 61st Season of the National Youth Orchestra Online

This year will be an exciting new approach to the training program with the online components. This year there will be additional master classes with guest instructors. It will reach a much larger audience with being online and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with Michael Sundell & our talented group of bassoon students.

Faculty Bios

Kathleen McLean, Bassoon

Michael Sundell, Contrabassoon

About This Organization

Canada’s leading professional orchestral training institute for talented emerging musicians ages 16 to 28.

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada is a Canadian youth orchestra located in Waterloo, Ontario. The orchestra has given concert tours in every major Canadian city as well as trips to other countries, including the United States, Japan, China and countries in Europe. Wikipedia

Upcoming Performance – Master Classes & Performance at Glickman/Popkin Bassoon Camp in North Carolina

The Glickman/Popkin Bassoon Camp is a ten-day summer camp for bassoonists 18 years of age and above, of any skill level.

I’m looking forward to participating again this year at the camp. Last year, because of Covid-19, everything unfortunately had to be cancelled. It could still be cancelled but we are assuming that things are good to go. It’s going to be an exciting summer filled with lots of ideas and exchanges with bassoonists all over the United States & Canada.

A Beautiful Environment Settled Among the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Wildacres Retreat

Because this camp is for all levels, it’s a really great environment with little pressure. There are beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains. Not only are there bassoon master classes but there are also reed making instruction classes and multiple performances every night with guest artists & large ensembles.

The camp is located at the Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, NC.

To learn more about the 2021 Glickman Popkin Bassoon Camp in North Carolina, please visit their Facebook page.

Upcoming Performances at the 2021 Festival of the Sound in Ontario, Canada

I’m looking forward to spending this summer in Canada playing with so many great musical colleagues & musicians. Getting a chance to perform again after the Covid-19 situation will be a refreshing change.

My friend and colleague James Campbell, retired Indiana University professor of clarinet, is the director of this awesome music festival. This annual classical music festival that occurs in Parry Sound, Ontario has been established since 1979.

See more about this festival on their Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_of_the_Sound

About this event

Canada’s premier summer classical music event at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts on the beautiful shores of Georgian Bay.

https://festivalofthesound.ca/

Twitter Feed for Festival of the Sound

Bassoon Resource – Low Register Drill in All Minor Keys

This exercise is an excellent way to develop rapid technique in the low register. I would suggest slurring everything. Slur everything and after you have fluidity in that approach then vary your articulations to add another layer of challenge.

A 1 page PDF of Bassoon Low Register Drills

An artful portrait by Joel Washington

Bloomington, Indiana artist Joel Washington has created an artful portrait of bassoonist Kathleen McLean.

So, I walked into Laughing Planet one day and noticed Frank Zappa pictures on the wall. Colorful pop art and I was blown away. I looked at the signature on the paintings and I investigated and realized that Joel Washington lived in Bloomington.

I approached Joel because I was in the middle of making a recording and I was thinking of cover art. I asked him if he would be interested in taking a photograph and making it into an artful portrait.

We became friends quickly and he does great work! It took him over a year to finish the painting because we would always get together and talk about so much stuff! I finally received this piece last year and I am so excited to share. He’s a marvelous artist and you can see a lot of his major works & samples of his various styles at the Indiana University Memorial Building.

Visit Joel’s website at JoelWashingtonArt.com

Émile Naoumoff , Trois élégies1988

Emile wrote this hauntingly beautiful & expressive piece. It’s full of gorgeous soaring melodies for the bassoon.

About Émile Naoumoff

Émile Naoumoff (Bulgarian: Емил Наумов; born 20 February 1962 in Sofia, Bulgaria) is a Bulgarian pianist and composer. He revealed himself a musical prodigy at age five, taking up the study of piano and adding composition to his studies a year later. At the age of eight, after a fateful meeting in Paris, he became the last disciple of Nadia Boulanger,[1] who referred to him as “the gift of my old age”. He studied with her until her death in late 1979. Boulanger gave him the opportunity to work with Clifford Curzon, Igor Markevitch, Robert and Gaby Casadesus, Nikita Magaloff, Jean Françaix, Leonard Bernstein, Soulima Stravinsky, Aram Khachaturian and Yehudi Menuhin.[1][2] Lord Menuhin conducted the premiere of Naoumoff’s first Piano Concerto, with the composer as a soloist when he was ten years old. He pursued studies at the Paris Conservatory with Lélia Gousseau,[3] Pierre Sancan,[4] Geneviève Joy-Dutilleux, as well as at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with Pierre Dervaux (conducting). Wikipedia

Iván Erőd, Sonate Milanese, op 47-1984

This is an enchanting work, particularly the 2nd movement. It’s a challenging piece technically to play and one of our gems in our repertoire.

Iván Erőd, Sonate Milanese, op 47-1984

1.Allegro Molto, 2.Andante Tranquillo, 3.Lento Molto Giusto-Presto Performed in Auerhall, 2016/10/8 Angela Park Piano, Kathleen McLean Bassoon.

About Iván Erőd

Iván Erőd was a Hungarian-Austrian composer and pianist. Educated in Budapest, he emigrated to Austria in 1956, where he studied at the Vienna Music Academy. He was successful as a pianist and composer of operas, chamber music and much more, with elements from serialism, Hungarian folk music and jazz. Wikipedia

Random Acts of Kindness

Don Freund created a version of this piece for bassoon & piano. This was originally written for Eugene Rousseau as a retirement gift. It’s a lovely piece and he thought it would sound great with bassoon and piano.

Angela Park Piano and Kathleen McLean Bassoon
Auerhall 2016/10/08

Don Freund is an American composer, pianist, and Professor of Composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His over 100 performed works, include solo, chamber, and orchestral music, live performance with electronic instruments, large theatre works.

My Favorite Scale Warmup

This warmup I started on when I was 11 years old and I use it every morning. This is how I start warming up! The reason why I use this is that it condenses all of the scales within a short period of time while shifting chromatically one octave at a time allowing me to work on fluidity and changing keys rapidly.

This warmup I started on when I was 11 years old and I use it every morning. This is how I start warming up! The reason why I use this is because it condenses all of the scales within a short period of time while shiftly chromatically one octave at a time allowing me to work on fluidity and changing keys rapidly.

The document is in major scales but this can also be even more challenging by alternating between major and minor. This allows the musician an opportunity to not only work on the mechanics of playing the instrument but it also gives you a mental challenge so you are never playing “by rote” (playing without thinking). If you know your scales, this is no problem.

There are different levels you can take this exercise to. I like to apply this to my students depending on their level of study. We often do this in group sessions in a circle. Every student of mine will play alternating scales and we keep a circle going. It’s actually very fun!