zhibaizhangThis is the eleventh interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Guest #11 is Zhibai Zhang, second bassoonist of the Kymi Sinfonietta since 2013.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

Yes, piano and cello

Who introduced you to music?

My mother

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

When I was 10 years old, I got the idea from my piano teacher. I was too lazy to practice the piano.

When did you start to think about becoming a professional bassoonist?

From the beginning

When you started to play, who was your favourite bassoonist?

My colleague Karita, Dag Jensen, and Mattias Racz

What is currently your favourite recording of the Mozart Bassoon Concerto?

Dag Jensen

If someone had to describe your sound in one or two words, what would they be? (you can cheat and ask someone for help with this one!)

The conductor always says that I am too loud!

jussisarkkaThis is the tenth interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Guest #10 is Jussi Särkkä, Radio Symphony Orchestra, 2. solo bassoonist since 1995.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

I didn ́t play any other instrument before starting the bassoon

Who introduced you to music?

My parents listened to classsical music and took me with them to the Joensuu City Orchestra (still a semi-professional orchestra at that time) concerts in the early 70`s.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

I started to play the bassoon just before I turned 11

Who was your first teacher?

My first teacher was Esa Kervinen, actually originally a trumpet player who had started also playing (and later teaching) the bassoon after retiring from the Army Band in the Joensuu Music Institute

When did you start to think about becoming a professional bassoonist?

I decided really thinking to become professional bassoonist only after being in the army for almost a year (and not playing at all during that time) at the age of 20. I was supposed to start studying physics in the Helsinki University, where I was accepted before going to the military service, but the year without playing finally changed my mind and cleared my thoughts.

ottovirtanenThis is the ninth interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Guest #9 is Otto Virtanen  solo bassoonist, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2004.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

I played piano from the age of 6 and clarinet as a side instrument from the age of 11, if I remember right.

Who introduced you to music?

I think nobody did it on purpose, but my grandmother had a piano and we spent often times at her in Turku and I had free access to that fascinating Ibach with candleholders and beautiful decorations. At some point my parents noticed that I had started to find some recognizable melodies. Soon the piano arrived in our house and I was asked if I’d like to get some lessons.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

The idea of bassoon just came out of nowhere to my mind when I was 10 or 11. My excellent piano teacher Vesa-Matti Tastula thought that I’m too small to start with bassoon so he recommended me to take clarinet to prepare myself for wind playing. Then, at the age of 15, I got the ’permission’ to give it a go. It felt immediately it was a nice choice.

Who was your first teacher?

Stig Forsman, the co-principal bassoon of Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. The year was 1985.

When did you start to think about becoming a professional bassoonist?

I don’t remember exactly, but we discussed the idea with Stig and my parents in our home before I made the final decision. We were not sure if it would be possible to have such a profession. I could not have imagined something more interesting, so actually it was my only choice at that time. My high school advisor then once asked a clever question: ”Otto, do you want to play, or do you want money?” I thought half a second until the answer was clear.

alekseidmitrievThis is the eighth interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions.

Guest #8 is Aleksei (Leksa) Dmitriev – Principal bassoon in the Tampere Philharmonia since 2002.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

Yes, I played piano.

Who introduced you to music?

I was born into a musical family. My father played trumpet and my mother is still a lecturer of piano in a music school. Of course with that kind of atmosphere at home there really weren’t too many other options other than continuing in the family tradition.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

I began playing bassoon at the age of 10 because there was a really good bassoon teacher in our school. It was fate!

Who was your first teacher?

The teacher’s name was L. Pechersky, he was the second bassoonist of the Leningrad Philharmonic.

When did you start to think about becoming a professional bassoonist?

It was clear from the very beginning.

When you started to play, who was your favourite bassoonist?

At the time when I started to play, Russia was still behind the Iron Curtain, so there wasn’t any possibility to listen to foreign bassoonists.

What is currently your favourite recording of the Mozart Bassoon Concerto?

I can’t really say.

sariseppelinThis is the seventh interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the
orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Guest #7 is Sari Seppelin!

At this moment I am playing the the Tampere Philharmonic. I began playing there 1.10.2019 and my contract ends 1.5.2020. After that I will be back on the freelancer market.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

I was taught a bit of piano by my mother.

Who introduced you to music?

My mother played piano at home a lot, and because of that classical music was familiar to me, But in my childhood home we listened to pop tunes too.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

I began to play bassoon when I was 12 years old. The idea came from the music school. I first applied for flute, but the flute class was already full, so they suggested that I play the bassoon since no one else in Kajaani was playing it.

nora van dok etcThis is the sixth interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Guest #6 is Noora Van Dok (nee Kärnä) – solo contrabassoonist with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, also known as Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri (HKO), since 2013.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

Yes, I started with piano when I was 6 and then some bass and drums in school bands. I was always a very eager singer too!

Who introduced you to music?

Probably my mum, who sang to me the same lullaby every night for my first year. Those words became my first real sentence - with the actual melody too! So mum has said that I sang before I could talk.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

Piano wasn’t really doing the trick for me so my older sister Anu (who had also changed from piano to trombone) suggested that if I want to get a job as an orchestra musician in about ten years I should start to play the bassoon. Low notes were my thing anyways, so after hearing a bassoon trio live for the first time, my decision was made.

YasukoMatsuzaki SvalaThis is the fifth interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Guest #5 is Yasuko Matsuzaki-Svala – sub-principal bassoon in the Finnish National Opera since 2007.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

I started to play Piano when I was 3 years old.

Who introduced you to music?

My mother introduced me to music. She was piano teacher and my father loves to listen classical music, so I could listen classical music always at home.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

I started to play Bassoon when I was 14 years old in the school wind orchestra. I liked the bassoon‘s sound and felt it was the easiest instrument to get the first sound from.

Who was your first teacher?

Mr. Yuzo Tsuda

When did you start to think about becoming a professional bassoonist?

After the first lesson I got such a strong feeling that I really want be a Bassoon player.

When you started to play, who was your favourite bassoonist?

Klaus Thunemann, I was listening to his CDs everyday.

essi vartioThis is the fourth interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists. The series introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Our fourth guest is Essi Vartio.

Essi Vartio
What orchestra do you play in, what is your position, and how long have you been there?

I’ve played assistant principal bassoon in the Lahti Sinfonia since February of 2011.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

I played flute from the age of 6 until I was 16 years old.

Who introduced you to music?

At home my mom listened to classical music now and then, and in the end took me to take flute lessons.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

I began playing bassoon when I was 14 years old, because I wanted to try a different instrument. Because of my age, and also a bit because of my sister’s suggestion, I chose the bassoon. I thought bassoon was very exotic because I had no idea what it even looked like...

SannaWihinenThis is the third interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists.Today our guest is Sanna Wihinen, principal bassoonist of Jyväskylä Sinfonia since 2010.

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?
I played violin.

Who introduced you to music?
My mother was a cantor during my childhood. She also worked as a piano teacher, teaching very often in our home. Also, my two older siblings played violin. I remember we listened to a lot of music at home, my mother was very fond of Baroque music and my father liked pop tunes.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?
I began playing bassoon at the age of 14. In the beginning I wanted to study singing but my voice was changing at that moment. The bassoon was recommended to me as an “in-between” instrument: “ Play this bassoon for a few years. After that it will be easy to switch to singing.” After a few years I didn’t want to change from it anymore.

Who was your first teacher?
Visa Jämsä

eri ikedaThis is the second interview in our series Weaving the Web of Finnish Orchestral Bassoonists that introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Our second guest is Eri Ikeda-Reding, Oulu Sinfonia principal bassoonist (2017-)

Did you play an instrument before you started playing bassoon?

Yes, I started playing piano when I was a child then when I entered to the junior high school (13 years old), I started to play alto saxophone in the wind orchestra club at the school.

Who introduced you to music?

My parents and my bigger brother, they all played piano and I was just so naturally interested in music.

When did you start to play the bassoon, and where did you get the idea from?

Playing saxophone after 2 years, I wanted to change something new and more interesting, and luckily I changed instrument to bassoon. It was in same band when I was 14 years old.

Who was your first teacher?

My first teacher was Makio Sasaki, former bassoon player at Nagoya Philharmonic, Japan.