Changing minds about bassoon: Guest Artist Series brings Scott Pool to GV

Courtesy Photo / Scott Pool
Dr. Scott Pool

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Scott Pool Dr. Scott Pool

Matt Oberski

The Guest Artist Series at Grand Valley State University will continue bringing a mixture of talents to campus with a performance by world-renowned bassoonist, Scott Pool. Pool has been playing bassoon for 23 years after being drawn to the wind instrument in junior high and high school, and said he admires the expressive capabilities and almost “mournful” sound of the instrument.

During years of performing with orchestras across the country, and around the world through audition and invitation, Pool was given an exclusive chance to be a part of multiple musical festivals in Italy, including the Orfeo Music Festival and Schlern International Music Festival. The performances, he said, were mostly chamber music, which are non-orchestral performances consisting of anywhere from two to 10 musicians. Both the audiences, and his fellow musicians were wonderful in Italy, he said.“They still listen to popular music there, but they also have a greater appreciation for artistic music,” Pool said. “It’s embedded in their culture. It’s where this music comes from.”

Pool has also performed in South America, where one of his most memorable performances was in Brazil in 2011. “They really wanted to communicate with you, and share the musical experience,” he said. “You could just feel the energy.” Pool has multiple recordings and, according to the University of Texas in Arlington’s website, has been played on National Public Radio, as well as local and national television broadcasts.

He enjoys teaching, currently as the assistant professor of bassoon at the University of Texas in Arlington, and previously as the assistant professor of bassoon at Valdosta State University in Georgia. “When you can teach the student to have an artistic experience, you’re sharing your art,” he said. “Later, when you hear a student play for you and they return the favor, and can give you an artistic experience, you feel very fulfilled.” John Clapp, adjunct professor for bassoon at GVSU, is enthusiastic about the upcoming performance, too. “We’re just happy to have as many guest artists visit GVSU as possible,” Clapp said. “Guest artist recitals provide valuable opportunities for GVSU students to experience various performing styles from across the country.”

Pool wants GVSU students to see the bassoon in a different light. “There are certain stereotypes of our instrument, and it is often given comical roles,” he said. “I would like for the audience to learn that there is a whole other lyrical quality to our instrument that a lot of people don’t know about.”
Pool’s performance Sept. 25 is in the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center on GVSU’s Allendale Campus. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 8 p.m. For more information, contact the music department at (616) 331-3484 or online at
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