Cindy Cameron, Principal Bassoon, has been performing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra since 1981. “I was a senior at UW. After grad school in New York, I returned to Madison Symphony in 1984,” she said. This Q&A is part of our Home Is Where the Art Is series of artist stories featuring our musicians.
When did you first start playing your musical instrument?
My first instrument was a soprano recorder, a gift from my parents in 1968, long before it was standard music education curriculum. I loved that thing! In sixth grade I began playing flute in the public schools, and in seventh grade my band director convinced me to play bassoon even though I had no idea what that was! In high school I was encouraged to specialize in bassoon playing. This was excellent advice, but I still love to play recorder and a few other things…..
What is unique about your instrument and preparing it for playing at a rehearsal or concert?
Playing bassoon is all about making reeds! Everything is dependent on that, but reeds are fickle friends. Professional double reed musicians generally make their own reeds from the plant material arundo donax, also known as cane. Each piece of cane is individual. No matter how consistent we are in our reed making skills, every single reed is different. To be honest, if I had known my entire life was going to be dependent on reeds, I might have made another choice!
What is special about playing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, John DeMain, and performing with your colleagues?
I didn’t entirely realize how important these people are to me, but the quarantine has caused me to miss so many of them! During the pandemic, I’ve gone hiking with a couple of our brass players, had virtual cocktails with a percussionist, played duets with a string player, and enjoyed a driveway campfire with a member of staff. These are my people and I can’t wait to see them all again!
What do your daily or weekly routines look like these days?
I walk my puppy about five miles a day (a tired puppy is a good puppy). I play a lot of music — bassoon, of course, but also recorders, plus Celtic music on concertina and whistles. I’m learning to play ukulele, and I’m discovering how fun it is to play with a loop station. I’ve been teaching bassoon and recorder via Skype. I continued to coach the Madison chapter of the American Recorder Society through April and May using remote teaching techniques that were new to all of us. I’m also taking a few recorder classes via Zoom. Finally, gardening season has arrived and I’m committed to growing as much of my own food as I can.
Please share anything else you think would be interesting for audiences to know about you and your life in music!
I play Celtic music with my husband Dale Fix. We’re planning a driveway concert soon and we’re working towards a second recording project. We’re hoping that our July 20 concert at Rural Musicians Forum (Spring Green) won’t be cancelled. Fingers crossed!