BIG DOUBLE REED DAY

Bassoon Tutors

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Bob Porter - Artistic Director

Robert (Bob) Porter began studying the bassoon aged 11 and at 14 was accepted as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music. Two years later, after playing with the National Youth Orchestra, he decided to give up all thoughts of a future in maths and instead, began a career which now encompasses musician, conductor, teacher, concert promoter and artistic director.

Whilst studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Bob seamlessly began teaching in the Junior Department from its inception and was appointed Head of Wind Brass and Percussion in 1985 — a position he still holds today. He also taught regularly for the Spanish National Youth Orchestra (JONDE) and was a member of the Artistic Board of the Catalan National Youth Orchestra (JONC) for over ten years.

As a performer he was a member of the London Mozart Players and worked with every major professional orchestra in London.

In 1991 Bob was made a Freeman of the City of London for services to music — an honour which allows him to drive a flock of sheep over London Bridge... something he fully intends to do one of these days. In his spare time, he is passionate about cricket (playing), rugby (watching), red wine and jazz, although not necessarily in that order!

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Meyrick Alexander

For thirty years, Meyrick Alexander held the position of Principal Bassoon of the Philharmonia Orchestra,  before which he was a member of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia. He currently plays principal with the London Chamber Orchestra and has played with nearly every orchestra in the UK. He also works with the leading period instrument ensembles and contemporary music groups. He has played and recorded as a soloist on many occasions around the world and has played on the soundtracks of a large number of feature films and TV programmes.

In the field of education, Meyrick was Head of Woodwind at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and continues there as a tutor. He has also been a member of staff at the Royal Northern College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire and principally at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded a Fellowship for his work creating their Orchestral Artistry course. Meyrick has given recitals and masterclasses around the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and the Far East and has recently joined the staff at the Royal Academy of Music.

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Rosie Cow

Rosie Cow studied at the Junior Department at Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Music with Martin Gatt, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Meyrick Alexander and Gordon Laing.  She now enjoys a varied and exciting career playing both bassoon and contrabassoon for many top UK orchestras including BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, London Mozart Players, and Welsh National Opera, as well as making regular trips to Dublin to play with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. She has also been playing with the versatile Aristos Ensemble since 2004, a venture which has taken her to North Africa, the Mediterranean and South America, as well as venues around the UK. Rosie was appointed Principal Bassoon with the English Symphony Orchestra in 2016, involving a busy schedule of concerts, taking live music to residents in local care homes through the ESO Care Home Concerts project, and working with young people as part of ESO’s Youth projects. Rosie is also a member of Bath Philharmonia, Longborough Festival Opera and Southern Pro Musica.

Rosie is in demand as a coach and teacher of pupils as young as 7 on the mini bassoon up to  young-at-heart adult learners. She is Bassoon Teacher at Junior Guildhall in London and also coaches wind trios, quintets and bassoon quartets. Rosie makes bassoon reeds for professionals and students all over the world.

When not playing the bassoon, Rosie loves being in the mountains - walking, trail running, climbing, skiing and ski touring.

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Fraser Gordon

Fraser initially studied violin at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and upon graduation returned to study bassoon, graduating with First Class Honours and being awarded the Peter Morrison Prize for Overall Excellence. After several busy years freelancing in Scotland, he was appointed to his current post as Principal Contrabassoon of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011, serving on the Board of Directors for five years. A regular guest player with orchestras around the UK, Fraser is regularly invited to perform with the World Orchestra for Peace, including several past appearances at the BBC Proms. Passionate about education, Fraser was recently appointed to the post of Head of Woodwind at the Royal Academy of Music and is an active musician in the RPO's Community & Education programme: RPO Resound. He recently co-hosted the new Woodwind Category of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and is proud to be a trustee of the Nevis Ensemble, a street orchestra based in Scotland dedicated to removing barriers to orchestral music.

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Cat Jackson

Cat grew up in Surrey and began learning the bassoon through her local music service after attending a try-out day. Following a brief side-step completing a Geography degree in Aberystwyth, Cat studied bassoon and contrabassoon at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’, Leipzig. She now enjoys a varied career playing around the UK and Europe with orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Cat is a passionate educator and loves introducing more people to the bassoon. She holds several teaching positions, including on the intermediate course at Junior Guildhall, and is in demand as a tutor with youth music organisations across the south east. Within her teaching practice she promotes double reed instruments wherever possible, successfully setting up bassoon and/or double reed ensembles at several schools.

Having experienced a number of injuries in the past, Cat has developed a particular interest in understanding what causes musicians to experience discomfort when playing, and how to avoid this without compromising performance. She brings this knowledge into her work and teaches her students (and anyone else who will listen!) techniques to stay pain free when playing. She has trained as a level 5 Soft Tissue Therapist, specialising particularly in the treatment of musicians. Her work aims to help rehabilitate people back to full performance strength while building habits that will keep them injury free for life.

Away from work, Cat loves being outside, going to the gym and travelling, having recently been to Iceland and Russia.

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Adam Mackenzie

Adam is the Principal Bassoonist of Opera North, a position he has held since December 2017. After leaving the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2004, Adam has studied in Milan (Accademia del Teatro alla Scala) with Valentino Zucchiatti and with Dag Jensen in Hanover before settling down to a 12-year freelance career. In that time, whilst living in London, Adam worked with most UK orchestras and chamber orchestras but, remarkably, had very little to do with opera. He is making up for this oversight now.

Adam has been an active chamber musician. As a member of the New London Chamber Ensemble he played at the Wigmore Hall with pianist Angela Hewitt, performed Berio’s Opus Zoo choreographed and from memory, and recorded works by Lenox Berkeley (Naxos). As a member of Chamber Domaine, Adam has performed Rossini’s Giovanna d’Arco for an installation by Anish Kapoor, recorded Britten’s Sinfonietta and Bridge’s There is a Willow Aslant a Brook (Resonus)and given performances of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale to hundreds of children. 

As Director of Education for English Sinfonia and Brandenburg Sinfonia Adam has devised and delivered composition projects up and down the country with seasoned professionals and non-musicians alike, narrated Peter and the Wolf many times with groups such as London Mozart Players and Sinfonia ViVA (of which he was a member for some years) and brought together over 800 children for a massed concert in Fairfield Hall. He currently teaches at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Norther College of Music.

Adam lives outside Leeds with his headteacher wife and two children. He likes running, hiking and avoiding Lego left on the floor.

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Ruth Rosales

Half English and half Venezuelan, Ruth grew up in the Lake District and started learning the bassoon aged 12. She won a scholarship to study bassoon for her Bachelor and Masters degrees at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and spent a year participating on the Erasmus scheme in Hamburg, Germany.

Following her studies, she joined the Southbank Sinfonia and now enjoys a freelance career woking in orchestras around the UK.  She is delighted to have a career playing in wide variety of orchestral work with a diverse range of styles including symphonic, chamber, opera, period and contemporary music.

Ruths orchestral work includes the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Opera House Orchestra. She is also a member of the Riot Ensemble which explores modern and contemporary music. 

Ruth is also an experienced Animateur having presented projects for the Education Departments of the Britten Sinfonia, City of London Sinfonia, Ensemble 360, Hallé, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Welsh National Opera. 

Ruth’s newest ‘job’, has been becoming a mother to her daughter Isla in April this year. 

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Connie Tanner

Connie Tanner (BMUS LRAM) held the post of Associate Principal Bassoon with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland from 2008-2013 before returning to the UK to freelance. She now lives in Northamptonshire with her two children and two cats that were rescue cats from Abu Dhabi and flown into London Heathrow!

Since leaving her post in Dublin, she has performed with the majority of the UKs top orchestras. She enjoys both Principal bassoon and section playing because she finds them both rewarding in different ways. She is also a regular guest with The New European Ensemble based in The Hague and Guest Principal Bassoon with Symphony Orchestra of India, Mumbai, on a regular basis. Indian food has become her favourite food!

Connie loves teaching. She teaches at Royal Academy of Music Junior Department (London) working with students one-to-one, conducting orchestral wind sectionals and coaching a wind ensemble. For the last 6 years she has worked closely with the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain as an audition adjudicator & coach for the bassoon and wind sections. More recently, Connie helped create the bassoon's digital content for the NCO's hugely successful 3 week online course.