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Ashby Mayes - Bassoon


1- You are currently an undergraduate bassoonist at the Royal College of Music where you study with Joost Bosdijk and Sarah Burnett. How is this progressing?

It is going extremely well! They are an incredible pair to work with and I feel as though I am truly making the most of my time at the RCM and will continue to do so.

2- Is your family musical?

No! I’m the first one, but they are all supporters of my music which is really great.

3- You began studying the bassoon with Pete Harrison at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music aged 12. How do you recall those times and being mentored by that master?

I had a brilliant time studying under Pete, he taught me for six years at Junior RAM and Wells Cathedral School and he was a really supportive teacher and influential musical figure to me over those years. I would not be where I am today without him.

4- You were a finalist in the Future Talent Coombs Scholarship competition. What are your abiding recollections and what pieces did you play in that event?

I remember the event very well. It was in late 2016 and at the time of my music college auditions. I played the third and fourth movements of Telemann’s F minor Sonata for Bassoon and Grovlez’s Sicilienne et Allegro Giocoso, both those pieces are great favourites of mine and I think it is important to play pieces you enjoy because it creates a special performance. It was a great pleasure and privilege to meet Sir Mark Elder and have him adjudicating at the competition.

5- As a soloist you premiered a solo work by Darren Bloom at St John’s Smith Square in London. How did this honour feel like?

It was amazing! Darren conducted from the centre of St John’s Smith Square, and had me positioned on the stage by myself, with brass and string players scattered around the edge of the audience creating an immersive, surround sound effect.

6- What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

I will never forget my time in the National Children’s Orchestra as that was my first orchestral experience, and made me realise I wanted to play music for the rest of my life. As well as this, playing at the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in front of 60,000 people live was a special event that will stay with me forever. I played with the National Youth Wind Orchestra for 5 years, with my last year as Leader of the Orchestra which was an incredible opportunity which I loved, and will never walk on stage as Leader of an Orchestra ever again. The cheer and support from the orchestra was overwhelming.

7- How often do your practice?

I practice every day in term time, usually for 2-3 hours (or more if I feel as though as it will continue to be productive) and in the holidays I continue to practice but of course I have days off, because I feel it is just as important as practice itself.

8- Would you consider teaching music in the future?

Definitely! I can’t wait to start teaching because I think it will be very rewarding because I’ve had many inspiring teachers in the past, and I hope I can be like that for the next generation of musicians.

9- Who would your dream accompanist be, from the present or past?

I don’t know how to answer this one! I would like to thank Robert Hunter, Lydia Scadding, Imma Setiadi and Eleanor Kornas for accompanying me over the past 8 years.

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submission September 2018