On Wednesday, April 8, the St. Olaf Music Department was proud to host Jeffrey Keesecker, Profesor of Bassoon at Florida State University. The recital was well attended by students, faculty, Northfield locals and music-lovers from the Twin Cities.
Jeffrey Keesecker, in addition to his position as Professor of Bassoon at Florida State University, is the Principal Bassoonist with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. He holds the Paul W. and Phyllis G. Runge Principal Bassoon Chair with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra as well.
First on the program was Camille Saint-Saëns’ Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, Op. 168. This three-movement Sonata beautifully captures the range of the bassoon, with luscious tones contrasting with the short, stereotypical bassoon melodies. St. Olaf Visiting Assistant Professor Sandra Joy Friesen accompanied Keesecker.
St. Olaf Professor of Clarinet Scott Anderson joined Keesecker and Friesen for Mikhail Glinka’s “Trio Pathétique.” This rich, emotional trio for Bassoon, Clarinet and Piano was a powerful combination of the St. Olaf Music Department and its guest artist. This was definitely one of the highlights of the program, as it was quite the crowd pleaser.
To finish off the recital, Dana Maeda, St. Olaf Professor of Oboe, joined Keesecker and Friesen to perform André Previn’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano.
The movements entitled “Lively,” “Slow” and “Jaunty” each had its own distinct character, and were extremely expressive and modern. The piece finished with a slightly jazzy, energetic goodbye.
“It was a serious intellectual piece. It was dark,” Jake Meyer ’15 said of the final trio after the recital’s close. Meyer was one of the many students who chose to attend the event.
Keesecker was accompanied by some of St. Olaf’s well-established faculty. Scott Anderson, Professor of Clarinet, has acted as principal clarinetist of the Honolulu Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony and the Oakland Symphony. He has also taught at University of California at Berkeley and Davis, Grand Valley State University and California State University, Sacramento.
Dana Maeda, Professor of Oboe, has 14 years of experience teaching band and choir in public and private schools. She is a member of the Rochester Orchestra as well as the WindWorks Woodwind Quintet. She has had the opportunity to perform with many prominent Minnesota ensembles, including Bach Society of Minnesota, Minnesota Sinfonia, Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, Minnetonka Choral Society and Minnesota Symphonic Winds.
Sandra Joy Friesen accompanied Keesecker for the Saint-Saëns and contributed to the two trios. She is a visiting assistant professor at St. Olaf. An internationally renowned pianist, Freisen has won major awards for her talents.
In addition to his recital, Keesecker led a master class for the St. Olaf bassoon studio as well as scheduled private lessons.
The master class, held on Monday April 6, was very informational and provided an opportunity for the bassoon studio to learn new perspectives on bassoon techniques, including reed-making, practicing techniques and musicality.
This collaboration between St. Olaf professors, assisting visiting professors and a guest artist from another strong music program made for a wonderful educational experience for St. Olaf music students and an enjoyable evening for the community.