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.

The bassoon world in Finland is like a game of musical chairs, and I for one can never keep straight who is where, and for how long... too many orchestras (a good thing!) and so many changes all the time. So today we begin a new series of interviews that introduces some of the orchestral bassoonists from all over Finland. Each guest will get the same set of questions. Our first guest is Jennifer Chihiro Kashiwakura. A big thank you to her for being the very first one!

jennifer chihiro kashiwakura

Jennifer Chihiro Kashiwakura, Oulu Sinfonia: "I’ve been substituting in Oulu for the past year on second bassoon. I am here until the end of this season. Then, I will be freelancing. :) "

Hello!

bridgets blog jan7It’s been a long, long time... I’ve been busy the past two years with my Goldberg Variations project (pairing 32 paintings with performances in Sweden and Finland) and that is my sad excuse. But, being the New Year as it is, I’ve made a resolution to pick-up where I left off and write about bassoons in Finland a little more often. Like, more than once every 2 years!

First a tiny marketing moment for a new recording. It is related to my sad excuse for not keeping this blog a bit more current... the Goldberg Variations! There is a new CD out, the Goldberg Variations BWV 988 (arr. Václav Vonasek) preformed by Trio Arundo on the label Supraphon. This is the arrangement I have played myself, kindly given to me by Václev, the contrabassoonist of the Berlin Philharmonic. He is a super bassoonist and a sensitive musician, I highly recommend the CD, if only to inspire you to play this fantastic music with some friends.

My next series of articles will be small interviews with bassoonists through-out Finland. They will be in English, or in English translated from Finnish, and my hope is to get to know each other a little better, despite the distances and rare chances to meet each other in person. It’s just a fun project that is informal and relaxed. I hope you will enjoy them!

Wishing everyone the very best for 2020!

Bridget

uusikaupunki

Night of the Lanterns at Crusell Week, an outdoor concert for the whole city in Uusikaupunki, Finland

It’s been awhile, because I have been too busy learning Finnish, ha ha ! But I’m back now, because there is an event you have got to join this summer. The Finnish Double Reed Society will be having their own fun concert during Crusell Week on Sunday night, in Uusikaupunki, 23.7.2017. Where and what is Uusikaupunki, you ask? It’s a sweet little treasure on the  west coast of Finland, take a look at a short video below.

The Finnish Doublereed Society’s  ambitious group of oboists and bassoonists, along with superior support from brass and percussion players, will be performing the Fireworks Music by Händel. Those of you who are familiar with Crusell Week will remember the fun family atmosphere of The Night of The Lanterns, on Vallinmäki. And those super tasty treats from the Crusell Ladies! The Handel Fireworks concert will be in the same place, but on Sunday night. There will also be a real fireworks display to help celebrate Uusikaupunki's 400th anniversary this year. Let’s celebrate it in a proper fashion, with lots of oboes and bassoons! Uusikaupunki happens to be one of the prettiest little coastal towns in Finland. Not to mention the chance to listen to some of the world’s best woodwind players in Crusell Week, and to chill out at the harbour on the sunny afternoons.

Here’s the schedule if you’d like to join. It’s a great chance to play with us if you’ve missed the concert in Turku last time!

Saturday 22.7.

  • 13  or so....The Double-reed Society will arrange transportation to Uusikaupunki from Helsinki
  • 18-21 rehearsal in Uusikaupunkifor the fireworks concert

Sunday 23.7.

  • 10-11 rehearsal for the mini-concert that takes place in the market square of Uusikaupunki at 12 noon. This is a chance to play for everyone in Uusikaupunki!
  • 12 noon concert on the square
  • 14-17 rehearsal for the fireworks concert
  • 22 concert at Vallinmäki

Monday 24.7.

  • 13-16 Washington Barella will teach young oboists and give a lecture on pedagogy at Pohitullin school. This is for young students and their teachers !
  • 18 Woodwind quintet Lunga has a concert in the Old Church. It’s a chance to hear some of the top players in Finland!

Return to Helsinki, arranged by the Finnish Double-reed Society.

Write an email to Tämä sähköpostiosoite on suojattu spamboteilta. Tarvitset JavaScript-tuen nähdäksesi sen. for more to date information and to sign up!

Hope to see you there!

Bridget

bridgetallaire makiMy name is Bridget Allaire-Mäki. I am a bassoonist who was born in the USA. I now live in Tuusula, Finland. I studied at the Northwestern School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Geneva Conservatory of Music in Switzerland before establishing my life here in Finland. I’m a founding member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta and have lived here now for almost 30 years. There are many foreign bassoonists and oboists studying and working here in Finland. When I came here in 1987 there were just two or three. But now many other bassoonists and oboists have discovered what a great musical life we have here in Finland and have decided to come and make a new life here just like I did!

I’m happy to listen to any ideas for subjects to write about and any feedback you might have. This blog is for everyone who would like to read in English about the activities and news of the oboists and bassoonists who live in Finland. To get a quick idea about Finland you can visit these sites:

To start off our blog, I’ve interviewed two very influential people in our Finnish circles who are the main teachers of oboe and bassoon at the Sibelius Academy. Jorma Valjakka is the solo oboist of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and lecturer of oboe in the Sibelius Academy. Jussi Särkkä is the co- principal bassoonist of the Finnish RadioSymphony Orchestra and the lecturer of bassoon at the Sibelius Academy. They are both great people, fine musicians and a lot of fun to interview. A big thanks to both of them for sharing their thoughts with us. I really enjoyed discovering that when I asked both Jorma and Jussi what was their favourite orchestral work, they both answered the Rite of Spring. Great minds think alike!

And here is a link to YLE. Go to this page and search for ”RSO” and you will find their concerts. Enjoy! 

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