A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Turning Point Ensemble Carnival - The Bassoonist Is Going To Do It
Sunday, March 08, 2015

Left Zukerman in 1999 - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward & right Zukerman 1975 - Richard Avalon Savage





In this Friday (and Saturday) Turning Point Ensemble Concert featuring music by Debussy, Hindemith, Morlock and Sokolovic there will be a special presentation of Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals. Below is something about the man who will narrate the delightful work.

In 1975 I was a counter clerk at Tilden Rent-A-Car on Alberni Street in front of the now gone Ritz Hotel. The hottest cars in our fleet were big blue Chevrolet station wagons. Vying for them were CBC honchos who would put CBC magnetic logos on the doors, and a man with thick black beard who resembled a maracas player from the Perez Prado Band. It turned out he was a musician, but of a completely different kind.

On October 29, 1999 I attended with my daughter Hilary a special taping of Zukermania, a radio program of bassoon music in CBC’s venerable Studio One. Bassoonist George Zukerman, accompanied on the piano by Leslie Janos, played a repertoire of music from Mozart and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco to contemporary composer Elliot Weisgarber. Between pieces, a passionate and often humorous Zukerman regaled us with bassoon lore. Vivaldi was a fan. He wrote 39 concerti for the instrument.

Concerts featuring the solo bassoon are rare. This bass wind instrument, developed during the 17th century, is relegated to the back of the modern symphony orchestra (complete with viola jokes. “When the burning viola is about to go out throw in a bassoon.”) Zukermania was a unique opportunity to see what a bassoon could do up front. But I had to come for another reason, besides the free coffee and cakes, the intimate atmosphere and to meet up with my old bearded friend from my Tilden days. I wanted to show Hilary where I had photographed, one by one, all three conductors of the CBC Vancouver Orchestra  - John Avison, Sir John EliotGardiner and Mario Bernardi. Studio One was home to perhaps the last North American radio orchestra.

At his home in Langley, Zukerman cited one of the best moments of his career when in 1973 he toured with John Avison the the CBC Radio Orchestra to Iqaluit, Coral Harbour, Baker Lake, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

How did Zukerman who was born in 1927 come to play the bassoon?

I was in school in New York, in short pants and just off the boat from England where I was born. The teacher said we were going to be an orchestra. Those pushy New York kids rand and grabbed all the recognizable instruments. When I got there, the only thing left was an anonymous black box. My teacher said, ‘I guess you’re our bassoon player.’

Being a champion of the solo bassoon has taken Zukerman to such places as Bandar Seri Begawan (Borneo). Pt. Louis (Mauritius), the Zomba Plateu (Malawi) and in the year 2000 to the new Canadian territory of Nunavut. Zukerman who founded Overture Concerts to finance his dream of becoming a solo bassoonist created debut touring opportunities (in the 60s and 70s) to then lesser known groups and went to remote and isolated communities through north and western Canada. For this Zukerman was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

Getting cars for those touring groups is what often led Zukerman to Alberni Street.

Now Zukerman will not be (pity!) playing his bassoon for Turning Point Ensemble's Carnival
this Friday and Saturday. He will be reading OgdenNash’s special poems for Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals. Today Zukerman has told me that he has tinkered a bit with the Nash stanza.

I can reiterate here that the very serious man, is one of the funniest men I have ever met. I am taking Hilary’s daughter Lauren to see this. I have told her (she dances at the Arts Umbrella Dance Company) that special to the Carnival of the Animals is the section featuring a ballet of dancing elephants.

If that were not enough a brand new work, Luft Suite, by Vancouver’s finest Jocelyn Morlock and –Paul Hindemith Kammermusik No 3 for cello and an orchestra of ten instruments, plus  Ana Sokolovic’s solo piece for cello Vez. The latter will be played by Ariel Barnes.


Ron Halder & George Zukerman
Even though the bassoonist George Zukerman (Order of Canada) is a terrific musician there is evidence that the brutal killing of a deaf Chihuahua in White Rock with a blunt wooden object may lead to him as Ron the Detective is hot on the trail.


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Previous Posts
A Turning Point Ensemble Carnival Without Sauce Bé...

The Head Shot

Fred Latremouille - A Hunk - 1945-2015

Sister Judy - Nun Nicer

Selfie Plus One

The Arts Umbrella Dance Company & Ballet Kelowna T...

I Was There - Arts Umbrella Sunday Performance Ser...

Effigie Numinum

Captain Kirk, Spock & Yielding Flesh

A Cello, Fishnets & A Bundt Pan



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3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17