Meet the Musician: Bassoonist Chris Jewell

Assistant Principal Bassoon: Chris Jewell

Where are you from and when did you start playing the bassoon?

Kansas City, Missouri.
Freshman year of high school. I switched from saxophone once I realized I couldn't be in orchestra unless I played something else.

When did you join the orchestra and move to the DC area?

Joined in 2000

What is your role in the orchestra? Are you on any committees?

I am the clown of the orchestra. Take two....
As a bassoonist, we anchor the woodwind section and provide the bass line, as well the occasional solo passage.
I've served on the orchestra committee since 2005.

Which performances have stood out in your mind?

Certainly Wagner's Ring Cycle last year was a sublime experience. It was as rewarding as it was difficult. I also never forget my first time playing Turandot and hearing the soprano come to the edge of the stage at the end of the opera and just bury the orchestra! It was thrilling every night to witness such power and beauty.

What you most looking forward to this season?

Aida is one of my favorite operas, and I loved this production.

Rite of Spring with the Mariinsky Ballet

Do you have any performances outside of the Kennedy Center this season?

I'm looking forward to playing a concerto with the American Youth Symphony Orchestra in November.

Who have been your greatest musical influences?

Certainly all my bassoon teachers taught me so many things that I draw upon every single day.  I think of them fondly when I'm teaching and I find myself repeating something my teacher told me 20 years ago. Other big influences have been Leontyne Price and Ella Fitzgerald, two of the greatest there ever were.

What are some of your passions outside of music?

Does reedmaking count? It shouldn't. Trying new gins?