Jesse Read's remarkable career has embraced a rich and diverse range of repertoire, styles and activities in the professional world, including bassoonist, conductor, composer and scholar. As a soloist, he has explored the world of the 18th-Century with 3 highly-rated CDs on the Etcetera label: a disc featuring 19-Century virtuoso opera variations and another of chamber music with horns on the Bravura label, and two discs with guitarist Michael Strutt. These discs, featuring a unique repertoire of music from South America, new compositions, transcriptions and surprises, are found on the Skylark label. The most recent disc, Stroll in the Cool," was nominated as The Best Classical Album in the 2008 Canadian West Coast Music Awards.
Jesse has served for 29 years as the principal bassoonist of the Carmel Bach Festival in California, and has toured and recorded with such familiar ensembles as Tafelmusik of Toronto, Philharmonia of San Francisco, Philomel, Boston Baroque, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, The Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, and the Capella Clementina of Cologne. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera National Company, San Francisco Opera Spring Opera, Victoria Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, and the North Hollands Orchestra, He has championed newly discovered and newly written works and has commissioned and given first performances of numerous new works for the oft-neglected bassoon.
Jesse has served as principal bassoonist of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and is featured often in solo and chamber music roles. In addition to numerous festival appearances and guest teaching invitations, he participated frequently on the visiting faculty of the European Mozart Academy, conducting and giving master classes in Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Budapest and Florence.
During a period of study at the renowned academy for study of early music, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel Switzerland, Jesse found a life-long love in the discovery of the performance of 18th-Century music, and is often heard performing on baroque and classical instruments. This has fueled his interest in neglected and undiscovered music and has led to several important publications, recordings and editions of previously unknown music, discovered during many voyages of exploration to Europe where since the late 1970s he has examined, catalogued, edited, published, performed and recorded his discoveries, found in museums, libraries, monasteries, private collections and archives. His recording of the Devienne Sonatas was the first.
Enjoying his interest in conducting, Jesse has led the University of British Columbia Symphony since 1991, and served a term as the Music Director of the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, the oldest community orchestra in the area.
Jesse recently completed his second five-year term as
Director of the School of Music at the University of British Columbia
where he is Professor of Bassoon, coaches chamber music
and enjoys the company of colleagues, curious and motivated students.