rushes_group_smallThe Rushes Ensemble was formed to perform Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon’s work for seven bassoons entitled Rushes. Rushes was commissioned in 2011 by the New Music Bassoon Fund. It is a 55 minute tour-de-force that takes the listener on a meditative journey through rich, undulating harmonies captured by the velvety sound of seven bassoons. Composer Michael Gordon shifts polyrhythmic material not only through timbre and dynamics, but by weaving melodic lines into the kaleidoscopic waves of rhythmic texture.

The Rushes Ensemble gave the world premiere performance of Rushes in September 2012 at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, New York, and has since performed at some of the most important contemporary music festivals in Europe including the November Music and GLOW Festivals in the Netherlands and the Surround Festival in Brugge, Belgium. The Rushes Ensemble has also performed at the Korzo Theater in Den Haag, the Ostadetheater in Amsterdam, the Crane Arts Center in Philadelphia, in Boston at the Granoff Music Center, and on chamber music series such as Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ and Vancouver New Music.

The ensemble’s recording of the work on Cantaloupe Records is available for purchase and is in consideration for a 2015 Grammy Award.

New and Upcoming

Performance October 23, 2015 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Tickets and more information

November 2014 Performance at Vancouver New Music
Read a review of the Rushes Ensemble performance at Vancouver New Music on Saturday, November 22, 2014.

August 2014 Performance in New York City as part of the International Double Reed Society Conference

March 2014 Tour

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 8:00 pm, Distler Performance Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University, Medford, MA. The Rushes Ensemble in concert.
  • Friday, March 28, 2014, 8:00 pm, Icebox Theater, Crane Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA. The Rushes Ensemble in concert.
  • Saturday, March 29, 2014, 8:00 pm, Alexander Kasser Theater, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ. The Rushes Ensemble in concert.

Rushes Ensemble

Rachael Elliott
rushes_rachelRachael Elliott lives in Durham, North Carolina where she teaches bassoon at Duke University and leads a community bassoon band. She is a founding member of the new music group, Clogs, with whom she has toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia and recorded five albums. Other ensembles include: Dark in the Song, Heliand Consort, and the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, in addition to her freelance orchestral work. Her debut solo album, “Polka the Elk,” was released in 2011. www.bassoonproject.org

Michael Harley
rushes_mikeMichael Harley enjoys a diverse career as a teacher, performer, and music advocate. At the University of South Carolina he teaches bassoon and occasional courses in music history and contemporary music, coaches chamber music, and is artistic director of the award-winning Southern Exposure New Music Series. Mike is a founding member of the acclaimed chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound, called “new music luminaries” and “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American musical scene” (New York Times). A versatile musician, Mike has been featured as a soloist with AWS both as a bassoonist and singer. Mike has played in diverse venues on five continents, ranging from nightclubs and bars (Le Poisson Rouge and the Roxy in NYC) to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Barbican (London), and the Hermitage Theatre (St. Petersburg); and with groups including the indy rock group Dirty Projectors and the orchestras of Charleston, Columbus, Fort Wayne, South Bend, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Long Bay Symphony (Myrtle Beach), where he is principal bassoon. Current chamber projects include the pioneering bassoon groups Dark in the Song, the experimental chamber ensemble LotUS, and Trio Chiaroscuro (flute, bassoon, and piano).
Mike has degrees from the Eastman School of Music (D.M.A.), the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (M.M.), and Goshen College (B.A., English and music). His teachers in include John Hunt, William Winstead, and Gwendolyn Rose. He lives in Columbia, SC with his wife, flutist Jennifer Parker-Harley, and daughters Ella and Lucia.

Lynn Hileman
rushes_lynnLynn Hileman is dedicated to reinvigorating concert music through the performance of post-classical contemporary and experimental music, orchestral and chamber music, as well as electronic music and interdisciplinary works. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, the UK, and Latin America, has performed as a guest bassoonist with Clogs, Alarm Will Sound, and the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble. Lynn makes up one half of the bassoon duo Tuple, and is a member of the contemporary bassoon collectives Dark in the Song and Rushes Ensemble. Equally at home traditional repertoire, she is principal bassoonist of the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, and bassoonist with the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival. She has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Syracuse and New Haven Symphony Orchestras, and has been a frequent performer at the annual International Double Reed Society conference. Hileman is currently Associate Professor of Bassoon at West Virginia University, where she also is co-director of the WVU Summer Double Reed Camp and a member of the Laureate Wind Quintet. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (BM), Yale University (MM), and the Eastman School of Music (DMA), where she was awarded the Andrew G. Bogiages Memorial Prize in Bassoon in 2004. Her teachers include John Hunt, K. David Van Hoesen, Frank Morelli, Christopher Millard, and Richard Beene.

Dana Jessen
rushes_danaBassoonist Dana Jessen is in high demand as a chamber musician, improviser and new music specialist. She is the founder of Splinter, a San Francisco-based reed quintet, and has performed with prominent groups such as the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Ensemble Dal Niente, Calefax Reed Quintet, Callithumpian Consort, Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra and the Amsterdam Contemporary Ensemble. As the founder and artistic director of the New Music Bassoon Fund, Dana led the commission of Rushes, an hour-long composition for seven bassoons by composer Michael Gordon. Her recordings can be heard on Cantaloupe (2014), RIOJA, Evil Rabbit and the New World record labels. Dana holds a M.M. in bassoon performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a M.M. in improvisation from the Artez Hogeschool voor de Kunst. She lived in Amsterdam for three years as the recipient of a J. William Fulbright Fellowship and a HSP Huygens Fellowship where she researched contemporary and improvised music. She is currently a lecturer at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

Jeffrey Lyman
rushes_jeffJeffrey Lyman has been Associate Professor of Bassoon at the University of Michigan since 2006, and prior to that he held positions at Arizona State University and Bowling Green State University. His principal teachers include Bernard Garfield of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Richard Beene and Hugh Cooper of the University of Michigan. In the field of new music, he has published several articles, recordings and web pages on recent compositions for bassoon from the former Soviet Union and Mexico, and his studies on the great pedagogues of the 19th century have culminated in several releases collected as the Jeffrey Lyman Edition from TrevCo Music Publishing. Recent projects include video recordings of trios and duos for oboe, bassoon and piano with Nancy Ambrose King and Martin Katz, as well as performances with the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His edition of the first complete English translation of the Nouvelle Méthode de Basson by Etienne Ozi has just been released by TrevCo Music.

Saxton Rose
rushes_saxtonSaxton Rose is Bassoon Professor and director of the contemporary music ensemble at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Principal Bassoonist of the Winston-Salem Symphony, and member of Zéphyros Winds, an acclaimed New York-based wind quintet. Recent performances include engagements as concerto soloist with the National Symphony of Colombia in Bogotá, the National Symphony of Panamá, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Caldas, Fayetteville Symphony, and the Winston-Salem Symphony. This past season he performed recitals in Mexico, China, Belgium, The Netherlands, and in Berlin at the Philharmonie. As Principal Bassoonist of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2008 he performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, in the Casals Festival and on tours to Europe and throughout Latin America. Mr. Rose studied at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and graduated with highest honors from the class of Stefano Canuti at the Conservatorio “Agostino Steffani” in Castelfranco-Veneto, Italy.

Maya Stone
rushes_mayaMaya Stone is a champion of contemporary music. She has commissioned and premiered several works by American composers, including William L. Lackey,Spencer Lambright, Paul Osterfield and Stephen Gorbos. Recent projects include solo bassoon in Black Gospel Music, which includes collaborating with additional composers Raymond Wise, Mark Lomax and William Menefield. She gives recitals and master classes around the U.S. each year, and performs at the International Double Reed Society Conference. Stone is also the second bassoonist with the Huntsville Symphony. Dr. Stone has held visiting professorships at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She has held the position of Assistant Professor of Bassoon at Middle Tennessee State University, and in 2004 she held a visiting professorship in double reeds at Austin Peay State University. Dr. Stone holds a D.M.A. in bassoon performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010, an M.M. in bassoon performance and woodwind specialty from Michigan State University in 2003, and a B.M. in music education from SUNY Potsdam in 2001. Her teachers include Kristin Wolfe Jensen, Michael Kroth, Barrick Stees, and Frank Wangler

Photography by Michel Marang, Amsterdam.