INTRODUCING DSE’s new series of features on members of our DSE family, sharing music and other recommendations during this period of social distancing. To start us off, here’s WILLIAM SHORT, Principal Bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He most recently appeared in DSE’s “Power Wind Quintet Redux” in December, and introduces the video we are sharing with you, below, of our performance of Luciano Berio’s Opus Number Zoo from that concert.
DSE: How are you spending your time during this period of cancelled concerts and at-home isolation?
WS: Teaching! My students and I are trying to treat this period as an opportunity to explore new projects and ways to make remote music instruction worthwhile. For me, the biggest challenge is not being able to meaningfully help students with reed-making, which (in my experience) really does require being in the same place. So, instead, we’re coming up with projects to document and quantify the effect of a single variable, such as the hardness of the cane out of which reeds are made, on success rates.
DSE: Please introduce our performance on the video release, below.
WS: I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to play the Luciano Berio for the first time. This was a piece I had only heard of, but didn’t know at all, and it was such a joy to discover how brilliantly Berio combined musical and theatrical elements to great humorous and dramatic effect. In a time when connecting to audiences is (rightly) on everyone’s mind, Opus Number Zoo certainly provides a fine example of one route to doing so!