Let’s Talk Bassoon – Episode 6

Canadian bassoonist Gareth Thomas has been a member of the bassoon section of the Cleveland Orchestra for almost a decade. In this episode, he speaks with Calgary Philharmonic bassoonist Michael Hope about their shared affection for vintage Heckels and his life in one of the world’s great orchestras.

Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas joined The Cleveland Orchestra in January 2015. He previously served as principal bassoon of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra 2010-14. He received a bachelor of music degree with academic honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2009 and a master of music degree from Northwestern University in 2010. His teachers have included John Clouser, principal bassoon of The Cleveland Orchestra, and Christopher Millard, principal bassoon of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Gareth Thomas received the George F. Goslee Prize in bassoon at CIM and first prize at the 2006 National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition. He has appeared as soloist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and has participated in the Pacific Music Festival and the Sarasota Music Festival.

Michael Hope

Michael Hope joined the bassoon section of Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 1982, and is one of Calgary’s most respected artists through his musicianship and his dedication to the life of our musical community. In addition to playing the bassoon, he has a remarkable second career as a highly praised vocalist. Hope first sang a symphonic pops show with the Calgary Phil in 1990. Since then, he has appeared as a popular soloist with nearly every Canadian orchestra. As a singer, he first gained recognition as the winner of the 1984 Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival Rose Bowl, and First Prize Winner in the 1988 CMC International Stepping Stones Competition. A prolific recording artist, he has made a number of critically acclaimed albums, and his latest CD of Classic inspirational songs, Hallelujah, won a Covenant Award Nomination for “Inspirational Album of the Year.”

Born in Toronto, Hope is a graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied bassoon with Bernard Garfield and Sol Schoenbach.

Featured performers…Wolfgang Scheitinger and Eric Li

Currently attending the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Wolfgang Scheitinger seeks out unrecorded and underplayed works for the bassoon. Scheitinger was a finalist in SUNY Fredonia’s 2022 Concerto competition playing Jean Françaix’s “Divertissement” and has performed with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra on both bassoon and contrabassoon. His teachers have included Mark Timmerman, Harry Searing, Laura Koepke, and Glenn Einschlag. Alongside playing bassoon, he also enjoys composing and has had works premiered by Transient Canvas, Mateo Mendez, and the SUNY Fredonia Wind Ensemble and was featured at the 2021 Society of Composers Inc. National Conference.

Eric James Li is an active bassoon performer based in Vancouver, Canada. Eric currently studies bassoon performance at the University of British Columbia under the direction of Ingrid Chiang. In addition, Eric has participated in masterclasses with Christopher Millard, Nadina Mackie Jackson, Julia Lockhart, Kathleen McLean, Suzanne Nelsen, and Michael Sundell. As an avid chamber musician, Eric performs regularly in woodwind quintets, trios, and double quintet projects in and around Vancouver. Eric’s orchestral experiences include but are not limited to the UBC Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Vancouver Opera, and Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. 

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