The head of woodwinds at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, bassoonist Dennis Michel he has spent his summers teaching and performing at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif., since 1998. He previously held the position of principal bassoonist of the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera, and he was a founding member of the Arioso Wind Quintet.
His principal teachers include Wendal Jones and Arthur Weisberg. In 1996, Michel was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for advanced study at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, where he studied with Milan Turkovic. During that time, he also performed with the Vienna State Opera.
Why did you choose your instrument?
I saw a New York Philharmonic Young Person’s Concert on TV when I was in grade school and was so taken with the bassoon as played by a student soloist that I decided I had to play it someday. Later, I actually had to talk my junior high school band director into buying an instrument for me to play.
What work are you most looking forward to performing this season, and why?
Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 [in June]. It is an incredibly moving testament to what the people of St. Petersburg [Leningrad] endured in World War II, and, though in some ways a problematic work, still a powerful, gripping piece.
Describe an unforgettable musical moment (as a performer or as a listener) you had as a young musician.
As a young music fan, I was infatuated with Brahms’ First Symphony and listened to recordings of it regularly. Hearing it live for the first time, when the orchestra reached the triumphant final statement of the chorale theme, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement. I will never forget that feeling, and knew that performing music was something I had to do.
What is your most memorable CSO performance?
There have been many memorable ones, but a couple which stand out are our performance of Tristan und Isolde in Carnegie Hall several years ago, and, more recently, Verdi’s Otello with Maestro Muti.
Offstage, I like to:
Teach, cook, eat, run, travel, spend time with family and friends, and take on projects in my home workshop.
HOMETOWN: East Wenatchee, Wash.
YEAR JOINED THE CSO: 1998.
EDUCATION: Eastern Washington University and Yale School of Music.
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