Chicago Philharmonic Contra Bassoonist Lewis Kirk


Lewis KirkQ. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?

A. I started on trombone in the fifth grade and was a lackluster student of the instrument.  Music became a strong interest for me when my band director suggested trying the bassoon and I had to find records in the library to hear what a bassoon sounded like. I listened to music of Stravinsky (Firebird), Prokofiev (Peter and the Wolf), Shostakovitch (Symphony Nr. 5) and Dukas (Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and became hooked! My boyhood dream of being a fighter jet pilot faded when compared to the possibility of playing in a symphony orchestra.

Q. What do you like most about the CPO’s ensemble approach to creating music?
A. Collaboration is the key to great accomplishment in some many areas of life and music-making is a perfect example of this. Ideally the personal ego must yield to the greater good and with colleagues such as Larry Rachleff, Joel Smirnoff, David Perry, Jim and Jean Berkenstock and so many others this becomes possible. The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts!

Q. What new endeavors would you like to see the CPO pursue in the future?
A. 20th Century American Masters such as Howard Hanson, Walter Piston, Vincent Persichetti, Morton Gould, Samuel Barber, (to name just a few, even Leroy Anderson!

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