The bassoon is an endangered species! But there are signs of change in York...
Long-since identified as "endangered " by Youth Music - due to factors including the high cost of the instrument and scarcity of teachers - the bassoon is something of a rarity, especially among young musicians living in challenging circumstances.
So, we've decided to do something about it! Working alongside the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and York Music Hub, the National Centre for Early Music is seeking to revive interest in the instrument through a youth project celebrating the bassoon, its history and its unique and beautiful sound.
The project, dubbed A Bassoon Extravaganza, sees 8 new bassoon pupils based at York's St Aelred's RC Primary School receive bursaries for instrument hire and professional lessons with local teacher Isabel Gamov - all made possible thanks to the generosity of the Mark Williams Foundation and York Music Hub. These young people, alongside members of the Minster Minstrels (York's youth early music ensemble) and professional oboe and bassoon players from the internationally renowned Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, have had a brand new piece commissioned from composer and woodwind specialist Anthony Bailey, which they will premiere on 9 July 2017 as part of the York Early Music Festival.
We hope that many of the young players will be keen to continue their bassoon playing after the project has finished, and NCEM is working with York Music Hub to find ways to help support their continued learning. For more information on this project, please visit www.ncem.co.uk/bassoon
Here they are talking about their journey so far: