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Brian G. McKee, D.M.A.

Bassoonist | Teacher | Academic Counselor | Ensemble Performer | Recitals | Reed Making | Freelance Music Consulting



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'La Perichole' Opens Tonight!

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 3 October, 2013 at 19:20

Tonight through Sunday: ASU Lyric Opera Theatre Presents Jacques Offenbach's 'La Périchole' - a delightfully funny operetta in three acts. The cast is phenomenal, and you'll hear a variety of waltzes, arias, can-cans, boleros, and more.

As my first experience playing in an opera, it has definitley been both rewarding and exhausting. However, in putting this whole thing together in less than a month, the positive musical results are happening quickly. When working with a large group of actors, singers, and instrumentalists, directors, and choreographers, we all make quick adjustments for eachother, and it teaches everyone to be even more musically flexible.

After a crazy week of late night dress rehearsals, I'm excited to see what happens at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre tonight and this weekend. Happy 50 Year Anniversary to the Lyric Opera Theatre at ASU!

Come say hi to us in the orchestra down below! See you there at 7:30!

Summer Bassoon Lessons!

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 22 May, 2013 at 0:15

San Francisco Bay Area folks! Are you a bassoon player and looking to keep up your skills over the summer? In an effort to build a studio of students, I am offering bassoon lessons for peninsula-area musicians while I've returned home to the Bay Area this summer. See the flier below for more information, and contact me if interested! //Brian

Vistas and Landscapes

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 25 March, 2013 at 2:15

It's been awhile since I posted anything, but I'm getting really excited putting together the musical and visual elements of my upcoming MM bassoon recital, Vistas and Landscapes. In additional to playing the bassoon, I love taking pictures of places that go and things I do. I've even been putting my Photoshop skills to work lately at my job at MCI, creating posters for Chicago Symphony Hall and ads for the Chicago Tribune for some festivals our company produced there a few weeks ago. 

It's been fun going through thousands of photos in my library from over the years, many of which I had forgotten about. For the recital, I'll be displaying a collection of photos I've taken from over the years on a big projector screen behind me while I play. Some of the pictures are musically relevant, while others I chose because of the imagery I associate with the music, perhaps meant to give the audience a context beyond listening. I'm excited to see how it turns out, and I look forward to seeing you there. 

Music for the End of Time

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 27 September, 2012 at 1:45

On Friday, September 21st, I played my first concert as a graduate student at Arizona State University. The concert, titled Music for the End of Time featured a variety of compositions centered around the theme of 2012 and the Mayan Calendar legend- a very interesting theme for a concert that took place at the beautiful Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, AZ. Music included selections from Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, Mahler's Ruckert Lieder, a wind ensemble arrangement of Shostakovich's Prelude, op. 34, a world premier wind ensemble piece called The End of the World by Michael Schelle, excerpts, from Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, and concluded with Silvestre Revueltas' Noche de los Mayas. It was a wonderful concert with seemless, creative staging, lighting, and transitions between pieces. I was overall impressed with the programming and look forward to many more concerts here at ASU. The ASU symphony is now preparing for a concert on October 11th with Maestro Carl St. Clair, featuring Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol. 

New Music, New Season, New Beginning

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 1 September, 2012 at 2:45

Is it nearly September already? Time has certainly flown by and August seems like almost always the shortest month of the year for me. It has always been a month of adjustment, transition, new discoveries, and inspiration. I've most definitely learned a lot this summer, short as it may have been, but I hope to apply all the things I've learned toward a new path for myself in graduate school.

This past June, I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance. What wonderful, unforgettable experiences I had there that I will savor for the rest of my life. It seems like so long ago now, looking back on it and remembering all of the hustle and bustle and pressure of getting everything possible done before graduation. Sometimes it's nice to reflect and think, "Wow, I really did it! I got all that done in four years?!" As I continue to look back on how much I grew as a person and as a musician, I get even more excited for years to come in my next chapter.

Shortly after graduation, I went on a nice family vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and spent a wonderful week adventuring around there. I then returned to Eugene with my dad to move out the rest of my stuff out of my apartment and into storage before the next leg of the journey. It was definitely hard packing up and taking everything away from there, as it had been my life for the past four years. I left Eugene with a sense of accomplishment, yet was nervous, sad, and excited all at the same time for what was to come.

After coming home from Oregon, I spenf my last few weeks of summer getting ready for my next chapter of education, with some needed relaxation thrown in here and there. Earlier this year I applied for and was accepted to a chamber music festival in New York City- The Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival at the Juilliard School. Having applied to several other summer festivals, I am so glad I was able to have a choice, and choosing NYC led to one of the best musical experiences of my life so far.

The ten-day festival, spanning from late July to early August, was hosted by the world famous wind quintet Imani Winds, comprised of some of the country's finest chamber musicians working and living in New York City. All the festiva participants were split up into fifteen or so chamer groups, mainly wind quintets, trios, quartets, and sextets. I myself was assigned to two groups, and though I was first intimidated by taking on responsibilities of learning music for two groups in ten days, I think it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

My first group was a traditional wind quintet and we were assigned two major works- Paquito D'Rivera's Wapango and György Ligeti's famous Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet. Both pieces turned out wonderfully and I couldn't have asked for better players to play with who also became my good friends. The same went for my other quintet, a mixed quintet with piano, flute, clarinet, bassoon, and violin. This group functioned a bit differently, as we played all world premieres for the final culmination concert, and explored the wonders of playing new music together. I can't even explain how fantastic and uplifting this experience was, and from this I decided that I would love a future career in chamber music. The rest of the festival was entertaining and rewarding in every way, consisting of masterclasses from outstanding visiting artists (including Frank Morelli, bassoon), outreach workshops, daily coachings, and concerts from the members of Imani Winds, working directly with emerging composers, and bonding experiences with amazingyoung musicians from all over the country (and the world) who I'd previously never met. I enjoyed some tourist time around Manhattan and around town as well, which is always fun! Everything about my time here can pretty much be summed up from a status I posted before I left:

"I had an absolutely fantastic time playing in the 2012 Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival! I consider myself so lucky to have been a part of all this, and I leave New York City feeling newly inspired, confident, and artistically rejuvenated. Never will I take for granted the opportunity to communicate and perform through the universal language of music with amazingly talented musicians who l'd previously never met in my life, and who I will always remember as wonderful friends. I hope to walk away from here a more confident musician and hopefully a better person, appreciating every opportunity in my artistic future. Thank you, Imani Winds, for helping me reignite my passion for music as a lifestyle!" Check out some of my photos from the festival:" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

All this, and now I'm beginning a new chapter of my life in a new part of the country. I've now moved to Tempe, Arizona to study bassoon at Arizona State University for my MM in Performance. That's right, I'm one of the crazies that moved from the Northwest to the Southwest. As I continue to get adjusted to the new environment (including the HOT Phoenix summer), I'm learning to appreciate the opportunity and beauty this region has to offer. It is really quite something out here, and I look forward to exploring a part of the country that I'd previously been unfamiliar with. My apartment is nice and rather spacious, too!

We had our first real week of school this past week, and things are starting to pick up after a bit of a slow beginning. I've had two great lessons with my new teacher, bassoonist Albie Micklich, and I'm looking forward to a productive and rewarding couple of years with the ASU bassoon studio, who are a really fun bunch of people. I know I will continue to build upon everything I learned at UO with new concepts and experiences at ASU. I will also be starting my new job as a performance assistant at Music Celebrations International, helping coordinate tours for ensembles all over the country. This will be a great experience for me in a field other than performane, and I know it will help me grow as a musician. This fall will be great, and I can't wait get involved in everything to come. Event details to come soon, and will update when I know of all my upcoming concerts!

A Few Plugs and [m]4

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 29 April, 2012 at 4:15

I am excited to be getting ready for several upcoming performances, including tomorrow's UO Symphony Concert featuring winners of the UO Concerto Competition, and next weekend's modern music showcase, [m]4. 

A bit more about the [m] concert - this is our fourth annual showcase created by members of the Oregon Wind Ensemble, and will feature simultaneous performances occuring throughout the afternoon at the UO School of Music. In the past we featured installments such as an interactive 'practice room' in the concert hall, an 'electronic intstrument petting zoo' with iPads, Wiis, theramins, and other things demonstrated, and numerous musical performances with visual art and multimedia collaborations.

A live blogging center and projected twitter feed will also be displayed at the event so that guest and performers can blog about the concert in real time on-site. This is sure to be a wonderfully creative concert collaboration with musicians and artists of all kinds from all over University of Oregon and Eugene. Please come by and watch me and my friends/colleagues perform any time from 3PM-7PM. Admission is free and guests may stay as long or short as they would like. We look forward to seeing you there!

Fantastic News!

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 29 April, 2012 at 4:00

I know that I have not posted in quite awhile as I have been extremely busy, but I just wanted to note a few momentous events that have happened recently.

First of all, I performed my senior bassoon recital last weekend on April 21, 2012. The performance took place at historic Beall Concert Hall at the University of Oregon. The program featured a diverse set of solo bassoon works including Pierné's Solo de Concert, Von Koch' s Monolog 5 for Solo Bassoon, Vivaldi's Bassoon Concerto in A minor, RV 498, Bozza's Récit, Sicilienne, et Rondo, and William Hurlstone's fantastic Sonata in F Major for Bassoon and Piano. I was assisted by Mr. Gabriel Coelho, doctoral candidate in piano performance. The performance went fantastically, and I was so lucky to be supported by wonderful family and friends at the event. A reception with refreshments followed, and then I went to dinner with my family, my girlfriend Madeline, and her parents. It was wonderful to spend this gorgeous weekend with my family, and we hiked Spencer Butte, a state park outside of Eugene the following day. 

Second, I am excited to announce that I have made a decision on where to attend graduate school next fall. I will be going to Tempe, Arizona to study with Dr. Albie Micklich at Arizona State University for my Masters Degree in Performance starting in August. This was a very difficult yet exciting decision for me, and I am thrilled to find out what may be in store for me as I begin my graduate studies at ASU. The Phoenix area is a diverse and vibrantly dynamic center for the peforming arts, and I am very excited to be a part of the wonderful artistic community in the valley of the sun. It will be quite a change from the cooler climate of western Oregon, though as Californian I don't mind the sun, and I look forward to the change! Preparations are already under way, including housing and potential roommate searches, employment, and practicing for ensemble auditions and masters recital. I already received next years orchestral audition excertps, so I have plenty of time to practice!

UO Symphony Conductor Search

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 6 February, 2012 at 16:35

This year marks an important transitional year for the UO Symphony Orchestra as the University and the School of Music search for a new director of orchestral studies. The search began this school year after the recent retirement of Dr. Wayne Bennett, former professor of clarinet and ensemble director since the mid 1970s.

For the next few weeks, the UO School of Music hosts three conductor candidates, each here for a week-long residency with the orchestra. Each candidate gets two rehearsals and a 'mini-performance' at the end of their week, during which they are evaluated by the search committee. Last week, our first candidate directed and performed Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2 in C minor, 'Little Russian.' 

This week we will be rehearsing and showcasing Rossini's Barber of Seville Overture and movement's from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major. We will have three rehearsals- one today (Monday), and Wednesday and Friday with Candidate no. 2. All rehearsals and 'mini performances' will take place at 3PM in Room 190 at the UO School of Music until February 17th. 

Keeping Busy, Right?

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 2 February, 2012 at 3:25

It's been awhile since I've posted an actual update, though of course it's good to be on top of these things. This winter I've had the privilege of traveling to different parts of the country to audition for graduate programs in bassoon performance. It has been a wonderful experience going to places I have never been before, including Winston-Salem NC, Austin TX, and Ithaca NY. 

Two more auditions left- one here at University of Oregon, and finally at Arizona State in Tempe, AZ. The traveling tour has been truly a unique experience, and has taught me a ton about what can be done with good planning, practice, and confidence. 

I look forward to hearing the results sometime in the next couple months, and soon determining the next chapter of my life after graduating from UO this spring. Also in the works are job applications, summer music festival auditions, and senior recital preparations for spring term. Cheers! //Brian

here it goes

Posted by Brian G. McKee on 30 September, 2010 at 0:00

The academic year has started once again, and I find myself updating my schedule like crazy as the week goes along! It has been great catching up with everyone in the area about summer activities, and my business cards have finally arrived. Looking forward to the Ducks game this weekend vs. Stanford...let's keep our heads up for another great win at Autzen. First Pac-10 home opener should be quite a game. The OMB should put on a fantastic show too! More updates to come soon. //Brian