Roger Nye, Bassoon

The New York Philharmonic

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Roger Nye

Bassoonist Roger Nye joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2005 after serving as the second bassoonist of the Omaha Symphony for 11 seasons. Raised in Michigan, he attended the Interlochen Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, where he studied with Robert Barris, now bassoon instructor at Northwestern University. Mr. Nye earned his bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of K. David Van Hoesen; he continued his studies at the USC School of Music, where he received his master’s in bassoon performance with Norman Herzberg, son-in-law and student of former New York Philharmonic second bassoonist Simon Kovar.

While a student at the Eastman School he participated in two important recording projects. The first: playing contrabassoon on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s recording of cornet solos with Wynton Marsalis; the second, playing contrabassoon on the Eastman Philharmonia’s recording, with flutist Sir James Galway, of the world premiere of John Corigliano’s Pied Piper Fantasy. Other recordings of note include the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Stravinsky’s complete Firebird (as principal bassoon) with Edo De Waart conducting. Mr. Nye moved to Sydney, Australia, with his wife, oboist Caroline Park, in 1997, after winning the position of principal bassoon there. He has also served as principal bassoon of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the South Dakota Symphony.

In summer, Mr. Nye has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, where he was soloist with violinist Joseph Silverstein in Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante, and at the Peninsula Music Festival, Door County, Wisconsin, where he served as both principal and solo bassoon. He resides in New Jersey with his wife, Caroline, and their son, Zeke.

“My earliest musical memory was listening to the music of the Bugs Bunny cartoons — lots of virtuosic wind playing. I loved how the music had a direct correlation to the characters. That’s when I first heard the bassoon, though I didn’t know its name.”

Q&A with Roger Nye

THE FACTS: Born in Douglas, Michigan. Bachelor of music degree, Eastman School of Music; student of K. David Van Hoesen. Master’s in bassoon performance, USC School of Music; student of Norman Herzberg. Prior to the Philharmonic: bassoonist, Omaha Symphony, 11 seasons; principal bassoon, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic. Recorded Stravinsky’s complete Firebird with Edo de Waart and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. At the Philharmonic: Joined in September 2005.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: Listening to the music of the Bugs Bunny cartoons — lots of virtuosic wind playing. I loved how the music had a direct correlation to the characters. That’s when I first heard the bassoon, though I didn’t know its name. Subsequently, I saw a woodwind quintet on television and put two and two together. I began playing the saxophone in the sixth grade, and in seventh grade I was allowed to switch to bassoon. From the first moment I felt I had found “my voice.”

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MENTOR? I have had many important mentors in my life, most notably Norman Herzberg, whom I studied with at USC. He was a legend in the bassoon world due to his unswerving devotion to mastering the instrument and training his students the same way. He also happened to study with Simon Kovar, a former bassoonist with the New York Philharmonic.

WERE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL? I ran crosscountry and track until I aspired to be a professional musician.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? A screenwriter. I’ve actually written a screenplay and have others in mind.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF THE BASSOON? Projecting the sound over the orchestra. It has a timbre that is easily swallowed by the strings.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: There have been so many since I joined. Recent ones: playing Mahler’s Third Symphony with Alan Gilbert, and our concerts with Bernard Haitink.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? I almost always have a Sinatra CD handy. Right now I’m listening to Sinatra singing Jobim.

ARE THERE MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My parents both played in high school band. I have an uncle who still plays clarinet and saxophone. My wife is an oboist and my eight-year-old son is taking piano and drum set lessons.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Spending time with my family is about all I have time for!

As of May 2012
Upcoming 2019-2020 Performances

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November, 2019 Saturday

Saturday Matinee: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5

2:00 PM Concert

Saturday Matinee: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5

Program To Include
Mozart Wind Serenade in E-flat major, K.375b
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5
Jaap van Zweden Conductor
Eugene Izotov Oboe
Robert Botti Oboe
Anthony McGill Clarinet
Pavel Vinnitsky Clarinet
Judith LeClair Bassoon
Roger Nye Bassoon
Leelanee Sterrett Horn


March, 2020 Sunday

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

3:00 PM Concert

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

Program To Include
Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 1
Schubert Octet, D. 803
Na Sun Violin
Qiang Tu Cello
Zhen Chen Piano
Su Hyun Park Violin
Hannah Choi Violin
Cong Wu Viola
Sumire Kudo Cello
Blake Hinson Bass

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