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!

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?

This one is really difficult to answer .........

Who taught you how to make reeds?

I don’t remember anymore...

What reed shape do you use?

Rieger 1a

What is your favourite reed-thread colour?

I don’t use thread.

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

I watch cartoons, I like them very much!

What is your greatest extravagance spent on making reeds?

I bought Christoph Hipper’s and Rieger’s profiling machines, they are expensive.

What is your favourite reed-making tool?

My Rieger pliers

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

The best reed in the world would allow me to sing.

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

I want to have the same number of the bassoonists as the violins in orchestra.

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

So many times I am working with Karita, and it is so nice to see how beautifully she plays the bassoon. And everytime I meet Jussi ,and Mikko-Pekka, I learn so many things. It seems funny, but I think I have gotten the best advice from colleagues.

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

I would want to be a pop singer, but I could never be one.

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

To not enjoy it.

What is your favourite orchestral excerpt?

The overture to the Marriage of Figaro.

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

In almost every concert I have played in I have always felt something special.

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

To smile at me, and to say “kiitos” after a concert!!

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

To spend time with my family.

Thanks Zhibai!

kartta 11