PREMAN TILSON, BASSOON
Hometown: Wellington, New Zealand
Joined Lyric Orchestra in 2005
Education: State University of New York at Stony Brook
What is your favorite opera to perform?
My favourite opera composer is Mozart, and The Marriage of Figaro is my favourite of his operas. I'm very excited to be doing it again for the 2015/16 season. It's the most joyful opera I can imagine and it's full of love and compassion for the characters. The music is Mozart at his absolute peak, and the writing for bassoon is glorious (as is all the wind writing). I just read, in French, the original Beaumarchais play on which it's based.
With which other orchestras have you performed?
I was Principal Bassoon with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 2007, and before that I had positions with the Grant Park Orchestra and the Memphis Symphony. I have also done work with the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony. During the Lyric off-season, I come back to my home and family in Wellington, New Zealand and am Principal Bassoon of Orchestra Wellington, as well as teaching at the New Zealand School of Music.
Outside of the pit, I like to:
I'm known among my Lyric colleagues as that crazy guy who bikes to work through the whole Chicago winter. I make my own kefir and sourdough bread, and I have been studying French for a few years now. When I'm in New Zealand, I enjoy going for walks with my dog and visiting my three granddaughters.
Do you play any instrument other than the one you play as a Lyric Orchestra member?
I'm a fairly decent amateur pianist and I really love accompanying other musicians, something I have done since I was a student. I also enjoy arranging music, which I find challenging and satisfying.