Chicago Philharmonic Bassoonist John Gaudette

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John Gaudette is a man of many talents. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music and at the age of 20 was hired to play bassoon in the Dallas Symphony. Now he performs with the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and other groups around the area. He also has a hidden talent for visual art. A former student of printmaking at the at the Malispina Printmakers Collaborative in Canada, he first debuted his set of lithographs entitled Pictures at an Exhibition at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theater in 1999. These artworks, inspired by Mussorgsky’s work of the same name, will be on display and available for purchase at our Vision in Sound concert on June 7, when we perform Mussorgsky’s Pictures. Check out what John had to say about art, music, and how the two relate.

lithograph by john gaudette
Q: How long have you been making visual art?
A: I’ve been interested in the visual arts for as long as I can remember. I started painting in high school and stone lithography in the early 90’s.

Q: What exactly is a lithograph and how does one make one?
A: Lithography (from the Greek word lithos) is a printmaking technique that involves drawing with a grease pencil or brush on to a slab of limestone. The stone is wet with water, and ink is applied with a roller. The ink only sticks to where the image has been drawn. Paper is placed on the stone, and both are run through a press. The image on the stone is transferred to the paper. This technique was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of producing theatrical works. It also became a method of producing sheet music soon after.

Q: What is the relationship, as you see it, between the media of visual art and music?
A: Music to me is very visual, and when hearing or playing a piece like Pictures at an Exhibition, vivid pictures or images come to mind. Music and art have many similarities: color, texture, line, form, and emotional response, to name a few.

Q: If you could live a day in the life of any artist or composer, who would it be?
A: If I could live a day in another time it would be in Paris around the turn of the 19th century. Music and art were being redefined and reinvented, and the excitement must have been amazing.

Q: What tips would you give to someone trying to become a better artist?
A: What tips would I give someone to become a better artist? Have an open mind and draw, draw, draw!