Catching up with Bassoonist Daniel Chrisman

This Sunday afternoon, ROCO is pleased to present a chamber concert featuring Bassonist Daniel Chrisman. Within the intimate setting of Gremillion &Co. Fine Art Annex, Daniel chose to present a wide range of works that highlight the love of his instrument, the power of music and the fun of getting to share it all with ROCO’s wonderful audience. We caught up with Daniel to see what makes his musical selections so special.

The music will range from peaceful to unconstrained. As he says, “The Bach is very meditative and is something I always come back to when I need to center myself.” The contemplative Bach pairs well with the deceptively simple Saint-Saens: “it moves through lots of harmonic changes but without sounding excessively complex.  Ideally, it should sound very simple; the first movement song-like and the second, an alternatively light and aggressive waltz.” To continue with the theme of exciting and complex music, Daniel will perform Alexandre Tansman’s Sonatine, which is, as he puts it, “a piece I’ve always wanted to conquer! It’s wildly difficult and the outer movements are a welcome opportunity to play with barbaric abandon while the middle movement is soulful and somber.”

Exciting pieces like Transman Sonatine give voice to the bassoon in ways many have never heard before. Presenting this view of the bassoon is something  special to Daniel, as his roots with the instrument go back generations. Growing up in rural Kentucky, the bassoon was not a common instrument, so he says seeing one for the first time, “fascinated me, the sight and sound of the bassoon struck me as quite mysterious and exotic.” Discovering his family’s history, he learned that his grandmother’s brother actually performed with the Boston Symphony as a bassoonist. After visiting him and his wife, (also a bassoonist) he came away with a family heirloom- his very own bassoon. His passion for bassoon was set in stone in college: “Bassoon lessons, practice room culture, and ensemble performance were like oxygen to me…I added contrabassoon to my repertoire in graduate school, deciding that there was opportunity in making that big clunker sound like a real musical instrument.  It turns out that I quite enjoy making the lowest sounds in the orchestra!”