okay, confession time: the classical beaver has an unquenchable passion for bassoons and the people who play them – an obsession stretching all the way back to *a 2010 interview with the band’s subwoofer. i’m pleased as punch to end this year chatting with another oregon symphony bassoonist: mr. adam trussell.
adam, what words best describe the gorgeous sound of the bassoon?
This is tough. I like to think of the bassoon as wooden sounding, very characterful, and sometimes haunting. Have you seen the Bourne Identity? Watch it again and listen to the opening bassoon solo at the beginning of the movie. I think it’s perfect for bassoon. Apparently Frank Zappa referred to the bassoon once as the ancient voice of the future. I love that.
well your ancient voice of the future looks black from the lower balcony – could you tell us a bit more about the particular instrument you play?
I play on an 11,000 series Heckel bassoon with an ebony finish, made in 1972. I like to think of black bassoons as a very modern look for an old instrument. Most wooden bassoons are made out of maple and mine is no exception. Every once in a while I think that it would be nice to have those pretty tiger stripes that some bassoons have, but I am nervous to have my instrument refinished. Black is fine for now. I also enjoy that Carin, Evan, and I – the bassoon section of the Oregon Symphony – all have different colored finishes. We’re so diverse and awesome like that.
speaking of our awesome principal bassoonist carin miller packwood, she *revealed to the beavs back in may that she was, indeed, a flicker. i’ll ask you to weigh in on this issue as well: do you flick or not?
Do I flick? I flick like crazy! I can’t keep my thumb off of those flick keys. There’s no other way!
okay mr. trussell, please calm down. let me buy you a drink: what are you having?
I’ve been drinking wine here for the most part. It’s so good and relatively inexpensive. I used to be a bartender, though, and so if I were to make you a drink, I might make a “pink dog” which is my version of a greyhound but – you guessed it – pink. Oh, and delicious!
sweet! alright then, let’s get this partay started ~ an accountant here at the home office wants to know if you prefer nicki minaj or rihanna. so, who should we turn on?
You’re going to be disappointed in my pop culture knowledge. I do like folksy and somewhat alternative bands, and listen to Bright Eyes quite a bit. They came out of Omaha where I spent six years living and playing with the orchestra. Past obsessions have been Beck, the Shins, and other acoustical-guitar-carrying male singers somewhat like them.
speaking of acoustical wonders: what’s so great about hearing live classical music?
Classical music is so amazing to experience live because it is so unpredictable. You never know exactly what you’re going to get. Different players, different conductors, different nights of the week, and different audiences always lead to different concert experiences. One of the best things about Portland is how great our audiences are. They are so enthusiastic and supportive and clap forever ~ It’s amazing!
we can’t help it! hey, the band has had a number of guest conductors lately… what’s it like to have them on the podium?
It’s interesting to see how much they can get out of the orchestra. You never know what they will be able to do, and it’s always neat to see different interpretations.
so besides playing bassoon for the most kick-ass band in town, what do you do for fun?
My partner Lou and I have many video games. Currently, Virtua Tennis is in our PS3. I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.
i’m confident your backhand would kick this beaver’s butt. um, let’s see… i know you just moved here recently, but where did you grow up?
I’m originally from Portland, Maine. It’s funny to finally be in the “other Portland” – kind of familiar in a way, too. Portland, Maine is a lot like here in that it’s very liberal and quirky, but much smaller though. If you go, get the lobstah. It’s wicked good!
you don’t have to tell me twice. okay, final query already: why is the “other portland” so lucky to have coach kalmar as music director?
Carlos is by far the most intense conductor I have ever played for. We are so lucky to have him here in Portland because of how great he makes us sound. He is exciting to play for and he can also be completely terrifying to play for as well. He expects so much from us and continues to push us all the time. He’s got the perfect personality combination of having a good sense of humor, being a little crazy, and incredibly demanding. Nobody makes us sound as good. I hope he stays for a long time!
you and me both! oh adam, thank you so much for chatting with ol’ beavey today and ending the 2012 interview season in style – i totes appreciate it! (so about us getting together for those pink dogs…)