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Consortium of bassoonists commissions new sonata for the instrument

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Composer and pianist Amanda Harberg and bassoonist Adrian Morejon give the world premiere performance of Harberg's Bassoon Sonata

Composer Amanda Harberg recently wrote a bassoon sonata that, at last count, was commissioned by 29 different bassoonists.

"It was inspiring knowing that I had this community of musicians that I would be connecting with," she said. "It makes me think bigger."

Adrian Morejon spearheaded the commissioning consortium. He started by creating a Facebook fundraiser for the sonata on his birthday. He also approached bassoonists individually and raised interest and awareness in the community.

The title page of Amanda Harberg's Bassoon Sonata, with the names of all 29 co-commissioners (current as of October 24, 2021)

The consortium expanded from about a dozen to almost 30, with a couple of new additions within the past month.

Members of the consortium contributed $250 toward the commission and have exclusive rights to perform the sonata until its publication in September 2022.

The consortium includes everyone from members of the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra to faculty members at Interlochen Arts Camp and the Eastman School of Music to Harberg's own teenage bassoonist Sydney (Sydney's grandmother subsidized their commission).

Harberg and Morejon gave the virtual world premiere performance of the Bassoon Sonata in July at the International Double Reed Society Convention.

Earlier this month, they presented the in-person world premiere performance of the sonata at SUNY Purchase.

"Virtual premieres open up a lot of possibilities we didn't have before," Harberg said. Several of her works received virtual premieres in the last year and a half that she isn't sure would have had premieres otherwise.

Morejon explained a virtual premiere "introduces a different step of the process. We have this new opportunity to put together a product that we have complete control over."

Hear their conversation with Classical IPR along with each movement of the sonata. Click here to watch and hear their complete performance of the sonata.

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IPR's Amanda Sewell talks with composer Amanda Harberg and bassoonist Adrian Morejon

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.