Posts Tagged 'Adam Trussell'

Adieu to You, and You, and You

beaver photoAll things must come to an end, and the time has arrived for this large, surprisingly industrious, semi-aquatic rodent to hang up its blogging cap for good. Gentle readers, the past 3+ years have been an absolute hoot because of you, and I can’t say thanks enough for your constant support and encouragement. Extra-special beavertail salutes go out to all the victims musicians who agreed to tackle my inane questions this season, including pianist Jon Kimura Parker, violinist Yossif Ivanov, high-flying cellist Alban Gerhardt, percussionist Sergio Carreno, pianist Martin Helmchen, conductor Hugh Wolff, bassoonist Adam Trussell, soprano Katherine Lefever, pianist/hero Stephen Hough [sigh], conductor Hannu Lintu, violinist Benjamin Schmid, the entire Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and rockstar fiddler James Ehnes. Trust me… the pleasure was all mine. And it may go without saying, but just in case: Thanks most of all to Maestro Carlos and the kick-ass musicians of the Oregon Symphony. Witnessing 76 (or so) brilliant technicians perform some of the greatest music ever composed with such passion and precision week after week will never get old. Seriously. Smooches to each and every one of you! Already looking forward to 2013/14, tell you what.

And speaking of next season, if you find yourself hankering for some bon mots from the classical beaver, feel free to drop in on *my Twitter account, which is quite possible even if you ain’t officially on Twitter. I’ll be sure to supply the best in orchestral coverage with 140 characters or less, guaranteed.

Let’s see… Express gratitude? Check. Plug my twats? Check. Well, I guess that’s it for this 474th and final post. Arrivederci from the Upper Balcony! xoxo, cb


The Paper Bag Was On My Knee – Part I

Courtesy of Black Red Media dot comLast evening Stumpland’s big band bid farewell to Hannu Lintu… a guest conductor who is apparently the love child of Garrison Keillor and Plastic Man. The Finnish dynamo mounted the podium after wrapping up his opening monologue and – with one fabulous swish of his baton – conjured up Mr. Modest Mussorgsky’s biggest number for orchestra: Atop the Bare Mountain on St. John’s Eve. Gentle reader, you can forget what you think you may have heard countless times under a slew of different titles and various guises, because ol’ Beavey is here to tell you the 28-year-old Russian’s original 1867 composition is not pretty, is not polite, and is definitely not Disney-fied. The raw ferocity of this music instantly shocked Monday night’s audience, and our brilliantly savage Oregon Symphony maintained its reign of terror all the way through to Mussorgsky’s final note. Yowza ~ Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait another 146 years to hear this revelatory and unpolished gem again. [whew!] Seriously.

After somehow surviving their stay on Mt. Bald, Maestro Hannu and the band welcomed jazzman Benjamin Schmid to the stage for a fiddle showstopper penned by Camille Saint-Saëns. [Please allow me to address any pronunciation concerns that have just flared up with my mention of Monsieur Saint-Saëns. It’s really no big whoop once you get the hang of it: Simply put on your favorite beret, shove a hunk of baguette in your pie-hole, develop a severe sinus infection, tilt your head back, pinch your nose (firmly), and confidently declare: Saint-Saëns!] Now that we’ve cleared that up, let me get back to this violin concerto and vainly attempt to describe how smokin’ hot the Oregon Symphony’s wind section sounded. Let’s see… um, okay… Beautiful? Glorious?? Striking??? Fugheddaboudit. Last evening during Saint-Saëns’ slow middle movement, Joe, Todd, Yoshinori, Evan, Adam, Zach, Jess, Marty, and both Alicia’s brought it on. Y’all never, ever cease to amaze this rodent. [whew!] Seriously.

adam trussell tackles 10 questions

adam's avatarokay, 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…) 

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