By Kristin Wolfe Jensen
ROCO Principal Bassoon
This summer, I am enjoying a chance to catch up on family time while planning ahead for the next school year at the University of Texas at Austin and bassoon reed making. Life as a music professor and performer during the school year does not fit neatly into a nine to five work day — it’s a seven-day a week, morning, noon and night way of life. So the summers are very helpful for recharging and getting organized for the next whirlwind season!
Since being a bassoonist involves making many reeds every year — I will randomly estimate 200 — and reed making happens in several stages over months, I use the summers to stockpile my reed blanks so when I am busier, I can grab several a week, clip them and start the break-in process of scraping them and playing them a few minutes a day until they either settle in to being stable reeds, or I decide they are not suitable for music making and I discard them. This huge commitment of time and money toward reed making, and the unpredictability of the final product, is a tormenting reality for us double reed players.
My friend and ROCO founder Alecia Lawyer knows this very well.
I am pleased that my latest CD was released recently! “…and Kristin Wolfe Jensen – UT Bassoons in Collaboration” includes an interesting array of pieces from Mozart to several living composers, and involves duet and trio performances in which I am collaborating with my former UT students. The recording is available at Amazon.com, Naxos and iTunes.
I have the pleasure of being an artist/faculty member for three weeks every summer at the International Festival Institute at Round Top, located in rural Texas between Austin and Houston. I enjoy performing in the world-class concert hall, teaching talented young artists, roaming the beautiful gardens, swimming in the pool and bonding with friends on the faculty. The founders of this charming place have created a unique atmosphere where those of us passionate about music can immerse ourselves in our art and continue the ongoing pursuit of beauty and excellence.
This is my eleventh year as a faculty member at Round Top, which is really special since I attended the festival as a student for three years. I am particularly sentimental about the place since I met my husband at the festival my first summer as a student in 1990. We had such a great time together at that summer that we continued in a long-distance relationship for five years.
He was in the San Antonio Symphony, and I was finishing my graduate degree at The Juilliard School, then serving two years on the faculty at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and then two years at the University of North Texas.
We got married and brought our careers together in Central Texas.
We are happy to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this summer — and 20 years for me as a professor at UT – yeah Longhorns! To celebrate our anniversary, we will be taking our daughter to Hawaii to enjoy the beaches, hiking trails, volcanoes and that amazing floral scent and fresh air that permeates the islands.