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Explore Excerpts from The Double Reed
Conductors and Orchestras
John Steinmetz (Altadena, California)
After several decades of orchestral playing, I have come to believe that the power relations between players and conductors often prevent orchestras from reaching their potential. Conductors have too much power, and that power too often hampers players, orchestra organizations, and conductors themselves. The culture of communication in orchestras tends to allow musical and interpersonal problems to fester. To make matters worse, conductors generally receive little or no supervision; their superiors are non-musicians who cannot assess a conductor’s effectiveness.
Despite investing considerable energy in coping with these problems, orchestras don’t discuss them much. I want to encourage discussion so that orchestras can search for solutions. My purpose here is to stimulate conversation.
From Bassoonist to Nobel Laureate: An Interview with Thomas Südhof
Ryan D. Romine (Winchester, Virginia)
In October of 2013, neuroscientist Thomas Südhof was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on explaining the mechanisms of the presynaptic neuron. This research, exploring what happens when the presynaptic mechanism works correctly as well as when it malfunctions, gives us a much deeper view into how the healthy brain relays information and how conditions such as autism and Alzheimer’s disrupt that relay process.
But what does this have to do with double reeds? In a fantastic set of coincidences mirroring 2013’s Nobel win in Physiology or Medicine (see our interview with Dr. Thomas Südhof in The Double Reed Vol. 36, no. 4), one of the 2014 laureates, William E. Moerner, is also a professor at Stanford University AND once played the bassoon! Might there be a connection between the school, the instrument, and the prize? Only time will tell. But, in the meantime, Dr. Moerner has very kindly agreed to share a few thoughts with our readers.
Roger Boutry and the Bassoon Part I: The Man and His Story
Laura Bennett (Cameron Flower Mound, Texas)
When I decided to program Roger Boutry’s Interférences I on a recital in April 2012, it never really occurred to me that before the year was out I would find myself sitting in the composer’s Paris home, speaking to Mr. Boutry himself about his life story. But that is what happened. This article is the first in a series of three, focused on not just my own experiences with Mr. Boutry but also on sharing his extraordinary story, accomplishments, and works:
Part I) Boutry’s biography and the process of interviewing him in Paris
Part II) A survey of his compositions and a look at each of his works for bassoon
Part III) A theoretical and interpretive analysis of Interférences I, for bassoon and piano