Topic: New Concerto for Bassoon, Orchestra, and Electronics


It is my pleasure to share with you my new work “Riflessioni” for Bassoon, Orchestra, and Electronics (2014), featuring Patrick de Ritis, principal bassoonist, Wiener Symphoniker, with the 6-time Grammy nominated Boston Modern Orchestra Project under the direction of Gil Rose. … sound-1051

If you would like a copy of the score, or are interested in learning more about “Riflessioni,” please e-mail me at

Respectfully submitted,

Anthony Paul De Ritis, composer


Re: New Concerto for Bassoon, Orchestra, and Electronics

Anthony, this is really remarkable. I have some questions about the piece if you are willing to answer them here.

It sounds like this isn't just for bassoon, orchestra, and electronics, but rather with live processing of the bassoon player. Am I correct in this? Does the piece require someone to be manipulating the sound of the bassoon, or at least changing effects presets, during the piece or is this something the bassoonist can do on their own (using footswitch MIDI messages to a laptop or using traditional "stomp boxes")?

Follow up technical question: Based on how I know pieces like this usually work, I'm assuming this performance used a sound man running the bassoon sound picked up by a pair of microphones through LOGIC. Am I correct? Regardless of the software, do you provide plugin instructions or do you provide software instructions directly (saved patch files) with the score?

Or is all of this completely wrong and this is pre-recorded material? If so, it's magic how you made it work together.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: New Concerto for Bassoon, Orchestra, and Electronics

Dear Trent,

Thank you for your reply, and for your kind words about “Riflessioni” — I have sent you a copy of the score directly. I am enjoying learning more about you on your website.

You are correct, there is live processing on the bassoonist during performance; it uses specially developed software in Max/MSP running on a Mac laptop. In addition there are sound files that were generated by the bassoonist long before the first performance at the very beginning of the composition process. Some of these sound files are also triggered by a keyboardist during the performance. In fact, this entire score originated as an electroacoustic composition, solely based on bassoon samples (both dry and processed) recorded six months before the score was finished. This audio-based electroacoustic version was then transcribed into music notation by hand; selecting instrumentation then orchestration followed.

There is live mixing during the performance (a mixing board out in the audience), and someone was dedicated to controlling and monitoring the real-time signal processing of the bassoon during the performance.

The present version of the effects software was not designed to be “stepped” through in live performance, so that the soloist can concentrate on his performance, though it could certainly be programmed that way. (I’ve done this for smaller ensemble work, and for soloists with electronics, but when dealing with a full orchestra I thought I would reduce that level of complexity). And although I haven’t organized the effects patches for distribution yet, I do anticipate making them available.

For other readers, I have attached the first 5 pages of the score, which shares some of the performance information as well as its instrumentation. I encourage others who are interested in seeing the full score to please e-mail me directly at

Thanks again for your interest — it is much appreciated!

Respectfully submitted,

Anthony Paul De Ritis, composer

Riflessioni compellingly ‘reflects’ the lyrical and the aggressive, the stable and the unstable, light and dark, and sustains its length throughout.”
Gramophone (June 2017)

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