Buffalo Philharmonic’s new principal timpanist

Posted on: February 17, 2010

In Sunday’s (2/14) Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman writes, “Matthew Bassett was in fourth grade in Cleveland when he heard Beethoven’s uproarious Seventh Symphony. And something clicked. More accurately, something boomed. ‘That’s a great timpani part in that symphony,’ Bassett says. ‘It’s still one of my favorites. I was so intrigued by it at the time.’ Before he knew it, he was hounding his parents to take him to concerts, then playing percussion and timpani in a youth orchestra. The summer he was 14, he trekked to North Carolina for the Brevard Festival. … Here and there over the years, Bassett made his way to Buffalo, filling in as timpanist and percussionist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He liked our town. And when he heard that the BPO was seeking a new principal timpanist, he came here to audition. He won the audition, which took place in May 2009. Officially starting this summer, he will be the BPO’s new principal timpanist. … ‘There’s an irony about timpani, about percussion in general,’ he observes. ‘You can’t help but be noticed because you’re usually somewhere near the center, sitting on this high stool, with the big shiny drums in front of you. … My philosophy of playing is that you’re often doing your job correctly when you’re not noticed.’ ”

Posted February 17, 2010