Michael Harley

Bassoonist and Teacher

new album: come closer

So, I’ve got a new album coming out October 18, 2019, and you can have a get a peak — and pre-order copies — here at New Focus Recordings! It’s my first solo CD, with pianist Phillip Bush, and features all newly-commissioned pieces. (A whole page of this site is devoted to the project). I love them all, and my dream is that others will too, enough to play them themselves! Please contact me directly if you’d like me to put you in touch with any of the composers, or write them yourself. Composers are: John Fitz Rogers, Stefan Freund, Carl Schimmel, Fang Man, Reginald Bain, Caleb Burhans, and Jesse Jones. The album will be available in all the usual places, including Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Naxos, etc.

New bassoonists at uofSC

A hearty welcome to four newcomers in the fall of 2019 to Columbia and the University of South Carolina bassoon studio: graduate student Ryan Roikola (NC) and freshman Julia Blazinic (NC), Shad Burkett (SC), and Clark Hughes (SC). Looking forward to years of music-making!

2019 NewBassoon Institute, june 1-8, chestertown, md

Dark in the Song (Saxton Rose, Lynn Hileman, Rachael Elliott, and I) will once again be hosting the summer NewBassoon Institute, in conjunction with the National Music Festival in lovely Chestertown, MD. The institute explores contemporary bassoon repertoire (solo, chamber) and techniques, and includes a performance competition (finalists receive partial scholarships!). Our special guest and featured artist this year is the spectacularly creative Brad Balliett! Dates this year are June 1-8, 2019. For more information and to apply, please visit our website.

welcome, usc freshman bassoonists!

Four bassoon majors joined the ranks of the studio this year (2018-19): Noah Broam (SC), Avery Dabe (from Colorado by way of SC), Victoria Donaldson (SC), and Jadon Schuler (VA). They’ve all become significant contributors in ensembles, and are playing in a freshman quartet! The studio size is up to 15 now, including about 9-10 majors … about where I’d like it to be, maybe a bit on the large size. Audition dates in the winter of 2019 include Jan. 26, Feb. 16, and Feb. 23.

muhly concerto - world premiere

I was so fortunate to be able to give the world premiere of what I’m convinced is a truly significant contribution to the bassoon repertoire: Nico Muhly’s Reliable Sources, a concerto for bassoon and orchestral winds. We did the premiere here in Columbia on Nov. 15, 2018, with the wonderful UofSC Wind Ensemble, directed by Scott Weiss. A number of Nico’s works, including this one, are indebted in some way to the music of Renaissance composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), and the concerto’s title alludes to this relationship. The piece represents so much of what I love about Nico’s music: a beautiful harmonic sensibility, great rhythmic drive and energy, an innate sense of flow and pacing, striking dramatic moments, cool Renaissance-sounding ideas mixed into a post-minimalist soundscape. I hope I can get out to hear a few more performances of the work by other great bassoonists around the country — the piece was commissioned by a consortium of 19 schools, including Eastman, Michigan, Texas, and North Carolina School of the Arts. Look for my recording of the piece, coming soon!

2018 NEWBASSOON Institute with dark in the song

Dark in the Song's 2018 Institute focusing on contemporary bassoon repertoire (particularly chamber music) and techniques will be held June 8-12 in lovely Chestertown, MD, in conjunction with the National Music Festival!  For details and to register, please see our website.

USC School of music 2017-18 audition dates

Woodwind auditions for the USC School of Music are set for the following Saturdays: December 9, 2017; January 20, 2018; February 3, 2018; and February 10, 2018.  Private auditions can also be scheduled.  We have good scholarship funding available for talented bassoonists!  To set up an audition, please see this link.

welcome new usc bassoonists!

The USC bassoon studio just got a lot bigger:  we are thrilled to welcome 6 new freshman, one transfer student, and one new graduate student to the USC bassoon family.  The studio now numbers 14!  More info coming, including studio member profiles, on our FaceBook Page, if I can ever get around to updating the thing.

2017 sc double reed day is in the books!  

We had a ball on Nov. 11, with more than 20 young bassoonists in attendance!  Thanks to Midwest Musical Imports, Musical Innovations, and Alexander Technician Petrea Warneck for joining us.  More information about the day can be found here.

thriller redux!  "Overture for a vampire" Halloween spooktacular oct 31, 2017

The USC double reed studios presented their second annual kid-friendly Halloween show this year.  The USC studios dressed up in costumes related to the pieces (including a fun Thriller/Ghostbusters/Figaro Mashup by studio member Ryan Fox!) and introduced them in short skits.  This could become a holiday tradition!  Thanks to all who joined us.

Evan Hause's "melancholia"

New Jersey-based composer Evan Hause recently undertook an unusual composition project:  he assembled a new piece in the studio from individual parts recorded and emailed to him by performer-friends from all around the country!  The players, myself included, used a tuner and a metronome to ensure compatibility -- and I'm sure Evan employed some studio magic to make sure everything blends and sounds good together!  The new piece, Melancholia, which includes a shredding guitar solo played by the composer, received its "world premiere" on Dec. 2, 2016, in a podcast from Utrecht, in The Netherlands.  To listen and read more about it, please click here.

Savvy chamber competition announces $10,000 prize

Each June, the University of South Carolina hosts the Savvy Arts Venture Challenge (formerly the Savvy Musician in Action Workshop), led by our music entrepreneurship professor David Cutler.  I help run an affiliated competition that evaluates both artistic excellence and innovative event design, as a way to acknowledge and award ensembles that are helping rethink and transform the classical concert experience.  This year the prize is BIG:  $10,000 and a residency at the University of South Carolina, plus the option of management.  Interested ensembles, please read more and apply online here.  The application deadline is Feb. 15, 2017.