“This renewal gave me the experience of taking one-off lessons with several different bassoonists, which was incredibly enlightening. This was especially so because the bassoonists had approaches to the instrument that were quite different than mine.”
Bassoonist Doug Spaniol’s renewal was spent in England studying with the UK’s top bassoonists, attending concerts, and taking hikes in the English countryside. He was able to witness the Royal Academy of Music Bassoon Ensemble and rehearse under the baton of guest conductor, Sir Mark Elder. He says of this experience, “I've been the teacher in countless bassoon lessons, but this was this first time I'd been the student in a lesson in around 20 years. This experience was humbling, informative, and helpful. It provided me with much food for thought and issues to focus on as I continue to refine my technical and artistic command of the bassoon.”
Although attending concerts and taking lessons were influential, the most renewing part of his fellowship was time spent at Whittall Cottage, the country home of his former teacher, William Waterhouse. He says, “This really felt like a retreat. Working independently in a pastoral setting surrounded by books, music, and historical instruments was truly inspirational.” Spaniol felt it was a pleasure and a privilege to have an extended experience focusing on bassoon performance and practice. With the 2016-17 year being the end of his time as Assistant Chair for the School of Music at Butler, he was tapped to serve as Interim Associate Dean of Jordan College of the Arts this year. Thus, the renewal couldn’t have come at a better time, as his focus in the foreseeable future would be more administrative.
The outcomes of the fellowship have been positive for both his personal and professional life. Recently he was solicited to serve as a guest artist for the Music for All National Festival, which will be held in Indianapolis in March. He says, “Had I not had the Fellowship experience this summer, I don't think I would have felt prepared to accept such a high-profile engagement.” Also, Spaniol feels he is much more drawn to his work as an artist than as an administrator and the fellowship played a significant role in helping him reach that state.