10. Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
Notable Faculty: Jeff Keesecker
A well-known bassoon professor and probably the most sought-after teacher for his instrument in Florida, Jeff Keesecker’s impressive resume’ ranges from premiering Eric Ewazen’s 2002 work Concerto for Bassoon and Wind Ensemble to performing chamber music in Switzerland’s Dorian Consort to being the the Principal bassoonist of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. Many of Keesecker’s students have gone on to respectable careers in academia; bassoon professors at Stetson University, CSU Sacramento, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Furman University have all studied under Jeff Keesecker. Many of his students have also landed coveted positions in orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Listen to the Faculty: Check out Jeff Keesecker’s CD Bassoon Music Of The Americas
9. New England Conservatory – Boston, MA
Notable Faculty: Greg Henegar, Richard Svoboda
All three members of the New England Conservatory bassoon faculty play with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra that is vital to the classical music culture of the US. The symbiotic relationship between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New England Conservatory is a uniquely favorable asset to the education of students at this excellent music school, which is one reason I have to put NEC up here in the top 10.
Students at NEC take on a traditional education that includes etudes, orchestral excerpts, solos, and reed-making. There is even a “reed room” at NEC, which – to my understanding – is a room where musicians are able to share ideas about how to properly make reeds. It is also a room that comes stocked with equipment necessary to make reeds properly. There are also a wealth of performance opportunities for bassoonists at the New England Conservatory, including two orchestras, the “Symphony” and “Philharmonia,” as well as two wind ensembles. Students of Svoboda, Ranti, and Henegar have advanced to teaching positions as well as spots in top woodwind ensembles all over the world.
8. New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development – New York, NY
Notable Faculty: Leonard Hindell, Mark Timmerman
Many bassoon purists may question the high ranking of this music department. Make no mistake, Leonard Hindell, former bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic and member of the Metropolitan Opera, is among the most illustrious bassoon performers as well as teachers the nation has today. Other notable faculty members include Mark Timmerman, who served as principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Orchestra. For a student looking to be in a musical epicenter and for access to a top choice musical and academic school that is perhaps less selective than places like Juilliard and New England, NYU Steinhardt is an excellent choice for the formidable bassoon performer.
7. University of Texas, Austin
Notable Faculty: Kristen Wolfe Jensen
A highly sought-after teacher who has embraced 21st century media as a platform for advanced tutelage and pedagogy, Kristen Wolfe Jensen, creator of musicandthebassoon.org, a lessons portal that gives students detailed instruction as well as progressively challenging etudes, is among the most revered bassoon professors in the country. That she has had students land appointments in some of the most renowned orchestras is a statement of well-known fact, and her work as a bassoon soloist has garnered critical acclaim from many of the most well-known classical music publications in America. Expect excellent instruction if accepted to her selective studio.