We're excited to feature our Principal Bassoonist Nanci Belmont on our upcoming Spotlight Series concert! We asked Nanci a few questions about her musical life and how she came to play the bassoon.
Ariel: Where did your love of music come from? Are their any other musicians or artists in your family?
Nanci: No one in my family is even close to being a musician or artist. My dad owns his own tile construction business and my mom is a secretary. When I was really young, I just really loved singing and was involved in a few musicals/choirs here and there. I didn't really know anything about musical instruments.
What first inspired you to play the bassoon?
It's not a crazy or profound story.... I joined band in 6th grade because my best friend was doing it (and we wanted to have some classes together). My band director was this wonderful woman who let us try all of the instruments at the beginning of the school year, let us choose our top 3 favorites, and then she would pick what we got to play. I was apparently the only one in the entire 6th grade who put bassoon down on their list! (I did have it as number 1, mostly because I thought it looked really cool, and was told that you could hear it in the Disney movie Fantasia)
What is your favorite part of being a musician and what made you want to pursue it professionally?
I think my favorite part of being a musician is the lifelong learning that takes place. Being involved in music means that there is always something to improve upon, or someone new to learn from. I love knowing that I'll be a different (and hopefully better) musician in a few years time than I am now. I pursued the career professionally, mostly for the love of it, and the idea of getting to do something fun for a living. Not having any musicians in my family, I didn't know what a career in music would look like or the crazy amount of work that would go in to developing the career, but I'm very glad I pursued it!
Do you have a favorite piece or composer?
I can't say I have one favorite piece or composer, but I definitely have my favorites. Beethoven and Stravinsky are definitely at the top of my composer list, their music (and particularly their bassoon writing) is so fantastic.
What do you love about Washington Heights?
There is so much green space! I live pretty close to Bennett park, Ft Tryon is not that far away, and the Riverside bike path is extremely accessible. I love to go running and read outside (when the weather is agreeable) so I was really grateful for all of these spaces when I moved up here.
Is there anything that you would like the audience to know about the program for your upcoming recital?
Prepare to hear a different side of the bassoon than you may be used to! I developed this program with the lyrical side of the bassoon in mind, which is in contrast to the "clown of the orchestra" reputation that the bassoon often has. The three pieces on my program represent lyricism from three vastly different time periods and geographical locations, and are some of my very favorite works to perform.
You can hear Nanci this coming Saturday at 3pm on our Spolight Series!
By Ariel Kurtz, Social Media Manager