Fraser Jackson

Bassoon & Contrabassoon

Fraser Jackson

Hometown: Ottawa, ON

Instrument(s): Bassoon and Contrabassoon

Age you began playing: 13

Year you joined the TSO: 1990

Who or what inspired you most to play your instrument?  I was the youngest of four children; two of my sisters already played violin and cello in the Ottawa Youth Orchestra so I was determined to find an instrument in high school and get good enough to join them. I chose the bassoon because I wanted to play something unusual—I got that right!

What is your most memorable experience performing with the TSO? We performed Brahms’s Symphony No.1 in Hamburg in 1991. Being in Brahms’s hometown and being crowded onto that beautiful old 19th-century stage with its powerful acoustics and its ghosts just made for a thrilling moment.

What is your favourite music to play?  Mahler symphonies

What is interesting to you about working in an orchestra? The music is some of the greatest ever written, the performing is so demanding that it engages every part of my being, and I get to work very closely with people who are sensitive and intelligent.

What 3 recordings of any genre would you want to have with you on a desert island?  Pat Metheny’s The Road to You; Glenn Gould’s second recording of Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations; and James Taylor’s Greatest Hits.

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Musician Biography

Fraser Jackson joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1990. He has also performed and toured with such groups as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has founded two chamber groups, The Caliban Quartet and Musica Franca, whose recordings on the BIS, ATMA, and MSR Classics labels are well-known for their inventive programming, virtuosity, and stylistic variety. In great demand as a bassoonist, he is a regular member of Toronto’s premier new music ensemble, New Music Concerts, and was a long-time guest of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.

Mr. Jackson currently teaches bassoon and chamber music at the University of Toronto and the Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music. He has taught at several festivals including Domaine Forget, Canada’s National Youth Orchestra, and Ontario’s Interprovincial Music Camp. He has also given masterclasses on bassoon and contrabassoon across Canada, Brazil, Cambodia, and the USA, including classes at Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and Indiana University.

Originally from Ottawa, Fraser Jackson holds music degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, where he was one of the last students to graduate from the studio of Norman Herzberg.

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