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Carolyn Beck

Principal Bassoon
EDUCATION Manhattan School of Music, Yale School of Music, California State University Northridge

FUN FACT In first grade I wrote an essay saying that I wanted to be a composer or a veterinarian. Nothing changed, I just decided that bassoon was a big enough challenge and source of joy.

HOBBIES Swimming, reading, yoga, sewing, baking


Described as “a fearless player... as well as a musician with a keen sense of phrasing and color.” (Gramophone), Carolyn Beck is the Principal Bassoonist with the San Bernardino and Redlands Symphony Orchestras, and performs with other ensembles in the Los Angeles area including period instrument groups. She recorded Christopher James' Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra with North/South Consonance heard on the CD “Brightness Aloft.” Her solo CD “Beck and Call” is available on Crystal Records.

A champion of new music, Beck has commissioned and performed new solo and chamber works for bassoon in the United States, Canada, and Spain.

Recent solo performances include the Mozart concerto with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra in 2017, the Joan Tower bassoon concerto with the Pomona College Orchestra in 2014, the premiere of the Christopher James’ Bassoon Concerto in New York City in 2012 with North South Consonance, and appearances at several International Double Reed Society conferences.

She was formerly the Principal Bassoonist of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Orchesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain.

Dr. Beck is a devoted teacher, and some of her former bassoon students have gone on to major music schools including Curtis, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman, Royal College of Music in London, Mannes, and San Francisco Conservatory. Some have won full or part time orchestra positions and others have become music educators or excelled in other fields.

She teaches bassoon at the University of Redlands, Pomona College, and the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Beck was co-host of the 2013 International Double Reed Society conference in Redlands, California. Her major bassoon teachers included Don Christlieb, Arthur Weisberg, and Stephen Maxym.

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