Joseph Grimmer, principal bassoon of the Washington National Opera Orchestra, performed a concert Wednesday as part of the School of Music’s Guest Artists Series.
Grimmer was the second musician in the Guest Artist Series, which will run through April 4. On Wednesday night, he performed alongside Dianne Frazer, a premiere collaborative pianist, and Darrel Hale, the assistant professor of Bassoon at the University and principal bassoon of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.
“Professor Hale invited me,”Grimmer said. “We’ve been friends for about 11 or 12 years now, and he got this job. And right after he got it, he said ‘We gotta have you out sometime soon,’ and the schedules worked out this year.”
The concert featured pieces composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, among others, and kicked off with Louis Spohr’s “Adagio.”
“I started playing in middle school, where we were required to pick an instrument or do choir, but I didn’t want to sing,” Grimmer said. “So I narrowed it down to bassoon, trombone and euphonium. I think the tenor range of the basson, it’s very similar to voice, I think that’s what spoke to me.”
Grimmer earned his bachelor of music degree from University of Cincinnati, where he studied with Hale, and his master of music degree from Rice University.
Despite having an impressive track record, including playing for the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Grimmer said he has suffered a lot of failures.
“You just have to take every opportunity you have. Throw all your darts at the board, and most aren’t gunna stick but some area,” Grimmer said. “I’ve taken 38 orchestral auditions. I’m fortunate enough to have won five of them, but I’ve also lost 33 of them.”