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Breathing LIFE Back into the Bassoon!

"Musicians launch campaign to save the bassoon as shortage threatens orchestra - It is widely understood that lions, pandas and polar bears are all in serious jeopardy … The fact that bassoons now share this endangered status may come as more of a surprise, but this summer the reed instrument has become a strong candidate for international protection, according to fans of the sound of the symphony orchestra."

And so begins an eye-catching article in The Guardian, published this past August. But wait, did someone just refer to a musical instrument as "endangered ?." Indeed, that is exactly what they are calling the bassoon, but why?

According to London bassoonist and the campaign's initiator, Bram van Sambeek, “At the moment, only about 1% of people on the street can even recognize this instrument." Honestly, I'm not surprised, in fact I often anticipate that people won't recognize the instrument I play.

According to van Sambeek's article, there is a shortage of young musicians studying the bassoon, so in response the "Save the Bassoon" campaign was launched this past June, starting in Amsterdam and quickly spreading through Europe, and the world.

This past Sunday, October 11th, was deemed International Bassoon Day. Players from all over the world were encouraged to go to outdoor, public places to perform Mozart pieces in bassoon ensembles. The goal - to raise the profile of the bassoon and encourage more young musicians to take up the instrument. Impromptu concerts and events occurred in Russia, New Zealand, Mexico, the United States and England, where there was a mass gathering on the steps of the Royal Albert Hall!

IDRS links to info about the campaign on their website, there's a Facebook Page for the campaign and even Visit's Official Website and All In have info about International Bassoon Day.

Unfortunately, by the time I learned of the campaign and the International Bassoon Day, I was unable to pull together an outdoor performance in time, so I'm spreading the news of this event to make up for it! I'm hoping that the extra support gained will convince Mr. van Sambeek, Laurence Perkins (Principal bassoonist, Manchester Camerata), IDRS to make this a yearly event.

This could be a really fantastic way to grow our audience and future bassoonists!


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