A Performer’s Guide to Selected Bassoon Works Composed by Alexandre Ouzounoff

This essay explores four works for bassoon by the French composer and bassoonist
Alexandre Ouzounoff (1955-). Ouzounoff began his career as a solo performer and as part of a
professional chamber music ensemble with the goal of advocating for the bassoon. Thanks to a
grant provided by the French Ministry of Culture, he became a pioneer of contemporary French
music by commissioning many composers to write music for the bassoon, all of which he
premiered. As a composer for the last twenty-five years, he currently has a catalog of over fifty
pieces, several of which are for the bassoon. There is currently no academic literature on
Ouzounoff or his music. This work explores four contrasting pieces for bassoon and investigates
the composer’s inspirations from many interdisciplinary art forms such as ethnography, literature,
forestry, and architecture. After an introduction and biography on the composer, Amok (2013),
Lawson (2014), Vézelay (2016), and Nairobi, la nuit (1999) each receives its own contextual and
analytical analysis, along with a discussion of performance practice issues such as extended
techniques and other challenges presented by the composer. This essay’s larger aim is to
encourage the future study of Ouzounoff’s music and other twenty-first century French

Full Doctoral Thesis can be found here.

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