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. :) "


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!



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!


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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