Dark in the Song Bassoon Performance Competition

A collective of leading American bassoonists dedicated to the creation and performance of new works for the instrument announces the second Dark in the Song Performance Competition.

July 12-16, 2017 – University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC



  • First place winner will receive a $350 US cash prize and a new Püchner bocal. First place winner will also have the opportunity to perform Rushes by Michael Gordon with Dark in the Song during the 2017 NewBassoon Institute.
  • Second place winner will receive a $200 gift certificate provided by Midwest Musical Imports. Both winners will have the opportunity to perform as part of a participant recital during the workshop.
  • All three finalists will receive a $250 discount on the 2017 NewBassoon Workshop tuition.


Bassoonists of all nationalities born after January 1, 1987 are eligible to compete.


  1. All entrants must submit an online application and fee of $30 US payable by credit card. Entrants must upload recording files of the preliminary round repertoire listed below. The deadline for submission of all material is June 1, 2017. Scroll down for application.
  2. Three finalists will be chosen based on the preliminary round recordings and invited to compete live at the NewBassoon Institute, July 12-16, 2017. If selected as a finalist, entrants must agree to travel to Columbia, SC for the competition.


  1. Required work: Philippe Hersant – HOPI for solo Bassoon.
  2. Additionally, choose one work for bassoon and piano, or for bassoon with soundtrack or live electronics composed in the last 50 years. This work should be a minimum of 6 minutes in length.


The final round will consist of two solo pieces: Hersant’s HOPI, and a second solo piece, different from the preliminary round piece, chosen from the works below. For the second piece, the finalist may instead choose a work not listed below, though it will need to be approved by the jury. This must be a work for solo bassoon composed in the last 50 years. Transcriptions are permitted. Suggested solo works are listed below.

  • Alexandre Ouzounoff: Lawson (2014)
  • Choji Kaneta: Ambivalence IV (1991)
  • Olav Berg: Vertigo (1992)
  • Jennifer Brandon: Colored Stones (2013)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: In Freundschaft (1977)
  • Luciano Berio: Sequenza XII (1995)
  • Heinz Holliger: “KLAUS_UR” (2002)
  • Isang Yun: Monolog (1983)
  • Dai Fujikura: Calling (2011)
  • Olga Neuwirth: Torsion (version for bassoon and soundtrack) (2003)
  • Marc Vallon: Cantus (2001)
  • Kirk O’Riordan: Temptation (1994)
  • Samuel Adler: Canto XII (1989)


The jury is comprised of members of Dark in the Song: Rachael Elliott, Michael Harley, Lynn Hileman, Peter Kolkay, and Saxton Rose.


Step 1: Submit your $30 application fee with a credit card via paypal using the following link: paypal.me/bassoon.

Step 2: Submit the application below.


Called a “bassoon supergroup” by the American Music Center, Dark in the Song is: Rachael Elliott (Clogs), Michael Harley (Alarm Will Sound, University of South Carolina), Lynn Hileman (Tuple, West Virginia University), Peter Kolkay (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Vanderbilt University), and Saxton Rose (Zéphyros Winds, University of North Carolina School of the Arts). Members are also part of the Rushes Ensemble, formed to play composer Michael Gordon’s pioneering concert-length work for seven bassoons, Rushes.