News from the International Double Reed Society Convention in Birmingham England

Jul 26 2009

It’s been an eventful week here in Birmingham. Hundreds of oboists and bassoonists have decended upon the Birmingham Conservatoire here in the UK for a week of recitals, seminars, masterclasses, and exhibits.  I am here to play with bassoonist Barry Trent, who was principal bassoon of the Baltimore Opera for twenty seasons before it collapsed this past spring.  Barry and I played our concert here on Wednesday morning at 9 am. Having not yet adjusted to the new time zone, this felt like 4 in the morning to us!  But we acquitted ourselves well on a program which featured music written by famous American bassoonists to include Bernard Garfiedl, John Steinmetz, Loren Glickman, Truman Harris, and Bruce Grainger. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hamburg Steinway I was given, and we have already been invited to play again at next year’s convention, which will be held in Norman, Oklahoma, where we plan to tackle an all-French program, including Saint-Saens, Tansman, Dutilleux, and possibly Poulenc.  (What a shame that my duo partner, flutist Christina Jennings, no  longer lives there!)  The weather here changes every five minutes, rain showers appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly, and the sun will pop through when there seems to be nothing around but heavy cloud cover.  We’ll be here manning Barry’s exhibit of the American Bassoon Company until Saturday afternoon, and then I plan to toodle around either to Ireland or to Paris before returning to the States on Tuesday.  Hope all are enjoying the summer.  There are lots of interesting concerts coming up for me this coming season, so perhaps I will see some of you there!

Lura Johnson