Essex Symphony Orchestra Reg. Charity No. 1000732

Site last updated on 15 May 2020

Spotlight on …

Imogen Savage - Bassoon

My love for music began with my mum who played clarinet and piano.  She also sang in a local choir society and I used to go and watch all of their concerts.  My parents had an eclectic record collection that I would rummage through and play.  It gave me exposure to jazz clarinet, skiffle, 1960’s/1970’s pop, country and western, organ music, military bands and even bagpipes.

The first instruments I learnt whilst at primary school were piano and recorder.  When I was eleven, I joined a weekly music school in Chelmsford and really wanted to play the bassoon because I loved the music to the children’s programme Ivor the Engine and also The Sorcerer's Apprentice from the film Fantasia.  At that point I wasn’t big enough to hold a bassoon so I chose the cello as I liked low pitched instruments.  It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I came across a dusty old case at the back of the school music cupboard and found a bassoon inside.  I borrowed it, started teaching myself and soon convinced my parents I was serious about learning it.  I took lessons with a fabulous young teacher who was ESO’s own principal bassoonist, Catherine Gunnett.

I played my bassoon in Caprice Wind Orchestra, school and county youth orchestras, then continued at university in the Symphony Orchestra and a wind quartet.  I studied with Simon Durnford, principal bassoonist with the BBC Philharmonic and bassoon tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, as part of my degree. During a year at the University of Minnesota I also studied jazz and performed in the university’s concert band.

I joined the brilliant group of people that make up ESO in 2015.  With classical music, my ‘go to’ composers for piano are Debussy, Liszt and Schubert and I do love Stravinsky on the bassoon.  My orchestral favourites include Canteloube’s Songs of the Auverne, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro and Sibelius 5th Symphony,