Carl Gardner

Bassoon

Hometown: Fresno, CA
Alma maters: Oberlin Conservatory, Yale School of Music
Awards/Competitions: Winner, 2014 Oberlin Conservatory Solo Competition; 1st Place, 2014 Fresno Philharmonic Young Artist Concerto Competition; Winner, 2010 Fresno Community Concert Band Music Scholarship
Appearances: Lucerne Festival Academy, Lucerne, 2015; Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, CT, 2015; Aspen Music Festival, CO, 2014; Round Top Music Festival, TX, 2013
Instagram: @carl_alamode
Twitter: @carlgardnr
Musical origins:  I began music at the age of 6. I began on the violin because I thought it was a rite of passage in my family. I picked up the bassoon when I was 10 or so because I thought it was cool that I could get free lessons from my bassoonist dad. After a couple years of playing both instruments I chose to exclusively play the bassoon. I think I chose the bassoon over the violin because I enjoyed the benefits of playing an instrument not many other kids played or even knew about, and also because I wasn’t a very good violinist.
What inspired you to audition for TŌN? I heard about TŌN through the network of college musician peers I spend my time with. My wife and I decided to apply because we thought it would be a great step along our way to our professional careers. We are so fortunate that we were able to both become members of the same orchestra.
Favorite piece to play: Beethoven’s 4th, because I love feeling the energy of the fourth movement when you are in the midst of a great orchestra.
Favorite obscure piece: Charles Ives’ Four Ragtime Dances, definitely worth a listen.
Favorite composer fact: J.S. Bach ended up in a brawl in the middle of the Arnstadt Market with the bassoonist in his orchestra. Apparently Bach had called the bassoonist a “nanny-goat bassoonist” in rehearsal.
Favorite musical memory: My fondest memory in music was the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. It was the first time in my life that my plan to use music as a passport to the world worked.
Which composer would have had the best social media: Bach. He’s not afraid to call out fakers like that “nanny-goat bassoonist.”
Favorite fact about your instrument: Between my two thumbs, I have thirteen keys (buttons) I have to jump to and from.
The thing most people don’t know about classical music is: I think the biggest misconception people can have about classical music is that it is “calming” or “soothing”. In my experience, classical music has the widest emotional intelligence of any genre. If I’m looking to get hyped up, I listen to the March to the Scaffold in Symphonie Fantastique. If I want to feel sentimental, I listen to Tchaikovsky. If I feel angry and I want to vent, I listen to some hard core Shostakovich 5. I can go on and on. Classical music covers the spectrum and various dimensions of our human experience.
Favorite non-classical musician or band: The Clash
Musical guilty pleasure: Dubstep. I never listen to it when company is around.
Best album to have on repeat: Combat Rock by the Clash (1982)
What recording would you take to a deserted island: An audiobook with instructions on how to survive living on a deserted island
Proudest accomplishment: I’m proud that I earned the Eagle Scout Rank in Boy Scouts. On my soap box: I wish girls could have the same opportunities that I did when I was ages 11–17.
Favorite non-musical hobby or activity: I love to code my own computer programs. I’m relatively inexperienced doing it, but I know a fair bit of Python.
Favorite book: Game of Thrones
Favorite painting: It’s not a painting but Ansel Adam’s Moon and Half Dome
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Choose to play rather than to practice.
Time travel destination: Woodstock, 1969

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