Essex Symphony Orchestra Reg. Charity No. 1000732
Site last updated on 22 February 2020
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,