City Recital Hall and Omega Ensemble’s “Lunchtime Series”, shines the spotlight on the bassoon on 31 May , when Ben Hoadley, Omega’s resident bassoonist (and regular composer) returns to Sydney to delight audiences in a special lunchtime concert featuring music for the bassoon, clarinet and piano (In various combinations). Samuel Cottell caught up with Ben to ask him about his life as a bassoonist.
What’s the most fun aspect of being a bassoonist?
Playing amazing music is the best part... it's like sitting down to a dinner cooked by one of the greatest chefs every night. And I am often meeting wonderful, and very interesting people through my travels, which makes me very happy to be doing what I am.
What’s the worst aspect?
It's heavy and awkward to carry around. But despite the freedom I feel on the (very rare) occasion of travelling without my instrument, I freak out when I forget and look down and it's not there!
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever had to do as a bassoonist?
Actually nothing too bad springs to mind ... maybe being asked by a composer to imitate the sound of a hippopotamus?
What’s your favourite piece(s) to play?
All of them! Well, anything by Mozart and especially his operas.
What is your most memorable bassoon experience?
Too many great experiences to list, but one that stands out is performing a concerto at "Symphony Under the Stars" in Auckland to an audience of 300, 000 when I was 17.
Do you make your own reeds and how long does it take you to make them?
It's hard to say exactly as it's a process that takes several weeks as the reed needs to "cure" between each step. I'd say an average of up to one hour per reed. And seeing as I only end up being able to use about 25% of them, it's a time-consuming process!
What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked about the bassoon?
How do you load it?
Catch Ben at our next concert, Beethoven's Quintet, on Sunday 8 October in the Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House. An exciting afternoon of music featuring the woodwind players of Omega.