evan kuhlmann tackles 10 questions

what is your connection to the oregon symphony?  I’m the assistant principal bassoonist and contrabassoonist.  That means you might see me in any seat in my section.  In other words, I play a lot of musical chairs.

why is your instrument so awesome?
Even in a group as diverse as the symphony orchestra the bassoon is exotic. It’s basically incomprehensible to most non-bassoonists, and produces a wide range of unique timbres.  The contrabassoon takes that all one step further.

what’s so great about experiencing classical music live?
So much!  To explain just one aspect – I love pop and rock, and I listen to a LOT of it, but so many of my favorite studio albums can’t be re-created by live performance. In classical music we do all our own stunts every time.  This is also one of the things that makes each performance unique.

do you have a favorite orchestral work this season?
I think the entire rest of this season looks great, so let me plug a few lesser-known works from next season that I think are awesome: Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” Dalbavie’s “Color,” Mahler’s Symphony No. 10, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

how do you feel at the end of a concert?
That depends on how I played!

if you weren’t a musician, what profession would you choose?
I also compose and teach music, both of which I love, and I enjoy playing non-classical music whenever I can.  It’s hard for me to imagine a life outside of music, but I also think that it would be fun to study and teach literature from the second half of the 20th century.

if i were to buy you a drink, what would you order?
Beer.  I am happy that I live in Portland for many reasons, and beer is definitely one of them.

what composer really rocks your world?
This is a LONG list for me, so every time I get asked this question I try to come up with a different answer.  This time I’ll say that I have listened to the last 5 minutes or so of Honegger’s 3rd Symphony literally hundreds of times and they never get any less beautiful.

are you stoked by any non-classical music?
Almost every genre appeals to me in some way.  There is a lot of incredible artistry out there and I would love to see more collaboration with classical musicians.  Although some artists have been able to avoid pressure to generalize their music in hopes of selling records, many are still somewhat confined.  It’s encouraging to note that an artist like Björk, who is so incredibly talented and disregards arbitrary stylistic boundaries, has had increasing success with each album despite being fiercely original.

what sets the oregon symphony apart from other orchestras?
Unless you travel to Seattle or San Francisco you won’t see anything like us.  From our wonderful conductor to our great orchestra to the dedicated staff in the office, our job is to present excellent performances that serve this community – our community.


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