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.

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!)

I’ll have to ask my colleagues....

If you were limited to only one piece to play for the rest of your life, (solo piece for bassoon, or bassoon and piano) what would you choose?

Bach Suite for cello.

Who taught you how to make reeds?

There were many people... a little bit from each one...

What reed shape do you use?

Actually I use a quite wide shaper. Wider than Rieger 7.

What is your favourite reed-thread colour?


What do you listen to (if anything) while you are making reeds?

I don’t listen to music while making reeds, there’s enough of that in life...

What is your favourite reed-making tool?

It’s a tiny tube which I use when I sand gouged cane.

If you had to describe the world’s best bassoon reed, what would it be like?

A comfortable reed which responds in each register and has a good sound.

If you have ever used a website or YouTube channel to help you learn about reeds, would you like to share it with us?

I haven’t used one

If you could change anything about the world of classical music, what would be?

I would seperate classical music away from business. Either art or money... If they are combined, music loses...

What is the best advice you have gotten, and where from?

Quit playing! Sergei Krasavin.

If you weren’t playing bassoon, what do you think you might be doing instead?

Maybe in the logistics field...

What is the hardest part of your job in the orchestra?

Ades.“Living Toys”

Can you describe something an orchestra colleague should never say to a bassoonist?

You play badly!

What is your favourite orchestral excerpt?

Maybe Schostakovich 9th

What is your favourite memory from a concert that you played in?

Teatro alla Scala 2001. Schostakovich 8th prima vista, I was called onstage 15 minutes before the performance.

What is the nicest thing another bassoonist has ever done for you?

Heiko Dechert.1994-1995. During my student years.

Every bassoonist seems to have a passionate hobby, what is yours?

Family. Skiing. Travel.

Thanks Leksa!

kartta 8