rushes MAR 5776

Founded in 2012 by Dana Jessen, Rushes Ensemble performs Michael Gordon's "Rushes" for seven bassoons. This stunning piece is the first of its kind for the bassoon:  a concert-length, single movement work that explores the sensuous and lush sonorities of multiple bassoons within a minimalist framework.

Rushes Ensemble (L-R):
Jeffrey Lyman, Dana Jessen, Michael Harley, Maya Stone,
Rachael Elliott, Lynn Hileman, Saxton Rose
Photo by Michel Marang, Amsterdam

> Video: Michael Gordon speaks about his piece, "Rushes" (July 2012)

> Video: live performance of "Rushes" at University of Michigan (November 2013)
  [music starts at 4:20]

> Rushes CD: released 3/25/2014 on Cantaloupe Music
"Rushes brings out tonal and timbral aspects of the bassoon that are meant to induce a quasi-meditative, almost ecstatic state, in the listener as well as the performer."

10/23/2015 Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY  info
04/22/2016 Duke Performances, Durham, NC
04/23/2016 Duke Performances, Durham, NC  info

11/22/2014 Vancouver New Music Festival, Vancouver, BC

03/29/2014 Peak Performances at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

03/28/2014 The Icebox at Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA

03/26/2014 Granoff Music Center, Tufts University, Medford, MA

11/25/2013 Stamps Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

11/16/2012 Korzo Theater, Den Haag, the Netherlands

11/15/2012 Ostadetheater, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

11/11/2012 Surround Festival, Concertgebouw Brugge, Brugge, Belgium (Belgian premiere)

11/10/2012 GLOW Festival, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

11/08/2012 November Music Festival, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands
                   (European premiere)
09/15/2012 Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY (world premiere)

Polka the Elk
is my first solo CD with five world premiere recordings of bassoon music by Australian Padma Newsome, Canadian Tawnie Olson, and American David Lang.
Released 9/15/2011 by Music Starts From Silence

"weird and wild tunes" —Time Out New York

"one of the sharpest executors of new-music currently on the scene" —WQXR/Q2 Music






1.   À mon seul désir (2005) by Tawnie Olson
      Rachael Elliott, bassoon; Adrienne Kim, piano
2.   Polka the Elk (2001) by Padma Newsome
      Rachael Elliott and Janet Polk, bassoons; Bill Solomon, vibraphone/percussion
3-9.  With Eyes Cast Down (2004) by Padma Newsome
      Rachael Elliott, bassoon; John Orfe, piano, harpsichord;
      Padma Newsome, viola, voice, piano, harpsichord
10.  Press Release (1992) by David A. Lang
      Rachael Elliott, bassoon
11.  Bed and Rest (2006) by Padma Newsome and Clogs
      Bryce Dessner, guitar; Rachael Elliott, bassoon;
      Thomas Kozumplik, marimba, percussion; Padma Newsome, piano 

  > Download CD liner notes [89 KB PDF]

  > Download Polka the Elk concert program [180 KB PDF]

  > Listen to Polka the Elk on Soundcloud

  > Purchase album at Music Starts From Silence

In February and March 2012, I spent three weeks in Australia with my dear friend and musical colleague, Padma Newsome, developing new music in his Shady Gully collection and performing shows in Mallacoota, Maleny and Brisbane.

australiaPadma performed on piano, harmonium, viola, tenor ukulele, electric guitar, and vocals, and I joined him on the bassoon.

'Shady Gully' is named after the forest preserve in Padma's hometown and the music is inspired by the stunning coastal environment and people of Mallacoota. Our Shady Gully concert includes songs and instrumental tunes, selections from Padma's new opera, 2 Moon Smile, Clogs' tunes, and music from Polka the Elk. Thanks to our wonderful hosts, presenters and audience members in Australia!

Clogs performs new versions of Shady Gully in June/July 2012 during our summer tour of the USA and Canada.

  > Download the Shady Gully program from our Brisbane concert at St Mary's Kangaroo Point [400 KB pdf]

While teaching at Duke University, I coordinated the Bassoon Band at Duke (2011-2014), a community outreach project that included Duke students as well as bassoonists from the community at large. We rehearsed a variety of chamber music for bassoon ensemble—from trios, quartets and quintets to the occasional bassoon octet, and performed each semester for local senior centers and elementary students in Durham.

Listen to our live performance on WUNC's The State of Things
  [April 2013]