Glossop resident leads the bassoons

A bevy of bassoonists will perform at Manchester Museum, at the University of Manchester, on Sunday 11 October between 2.00 and 3.00pm, to mark International Bassoon Day. Over 20 musicians are expected to attend, led by Rachel Whibley, a professional bassoonist from Glossop, who has worked extensively with many of the top UK orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, RLPO, Northern Chamber Orchestra and Manchester Camerata.

The bassoonists will show their passion for the deep-voiced woodwind instrument by playing music by Mozart in the Museum’s Living Worlds gallery, in a setting which includes many of the museum’s excellent collection of stuffed animals.
The bassoon was one of several instruments labelled as an ‘endangered species’ ten years ago, because not enough people were choosing to play it, and the situation has not improved since then. A gallery dedicated to exploring the connections between all living things therefore seems a highly appropriate place in which to launch a campaign to encourage more people to take up the instrument.
The performance at Manchester Museum is just one of many events taking place in the UK and across the world to mark International Bassoon Day. Other places in the UK where bassoonists are gathering on 11 October to celebrate their instrument include Aberdeen, Cambridge, High Wycombe, Manchester and York. Overseas events will be taking place in Chicago, Germany, Mexico, Moscow, Rotterdam, and Wellington New Zealand.
International Bassoon Day is the brainchild of the Principal Bassoonist of Manchester Camerata, Laurence Perkins, who will not be among the Manchester musicians on Sunday, but leading a performance on the steps of the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The International Bassoon Day launch marks the start of a three month campaign by Laurence to raise awareness of the instrument and encourage new young players to take it up. He is a passionate advocate of the bassoon and during his 40-year career as a soloist, orchestral player, teacher and chamber music musician, has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings. He explains why he feels compelled to undertake this project, which will see him presenting more than 50 free events – concerts and presentations - at around 35 universities, music colleges, music hubs and schools throughout the UK.
 “The bassoon is one of the most versatile and characterful instruments in the orchestra, yet young people are not being given the chance to find that out. This is beginning to have an impact on UK orchestras as music colleges no longer have the applicants to study bassoon in sufficient numbers.”
Many musicians share Laurence’s concern. Among them is former bassoonist and Music Director of the Hallé Sir Mark Elder, who is lending his support to the project. Sir Mark said:
“My own experience of playing the bassoon was my passport into the rich world of music that is my life today. The bassoon has a versatile and characterful musical voice full of colour, expression, and - importantly to young ears - humour. It is also an indispensable part of the orchestra. I applaud this chance to encourage others to take up the bassoon and use it to discover music."
Laurence’s campaign is also backed by:
· The Royal College of Music, who will be holding their own concerts and masterclasses on the morning of October 11
· The Royal Northern College of Music (where Laurence is a tutor), who are supporting his tour
· The Musicians Union
· Howarth of London
· UK woodwind retailers

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