Andrew Schwartz

I first heard the bassoon in grade school at a production of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” It was the only instrument for me. No one else I knew played this unusual instrument, which made it especially appealing. I was encouraged to play just about every other instrument, but I held my ground and finally a bassoon was found. Just a few weeks later I was about to play my first concert, and while walking to the stage I actually dropped it, and it broke. What a beginning! After a few tears, I started to practice, and doors began to open. I was accepted as principal bassoon in the Youth Orchestra of Chicago, as well as the Civic Orchestra, the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony, while in high school. I went to Oberlin College for two years before deciding that I was going to become a professional musician, and transferred to the Juilliard School, where I received my Bachelor and Master of Music degrees.

I've made New York City my home base ever since while enjoying many interesting opportunities to travel. I played a season as principal bassoonist with the Jerusalem Symphony, and then in 1984, I was asked to join the Drottningholm Slottsteater Royal Court Orchestra, a summer festival outside Stockholm, Sweden specializing in Mozart operas on original instruments. Drottningholm is an original eighteenth-century theatre and we wore traditional period costumes, complete with wigs and knickers! I played for thirteen summers and evolved into a period instrument specialist.

I lead an active and varied freelance life that includes playing concerts, Broadway shows, movie scores, and commercials, as well as teaching. From 1986 through 2003, I was a regular extra with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and was heard on many radio broadcasts, DVDs, CDs, and on tour in Japan, Spain, Canada, and the US. One of my most gratifying experiences is being solo bassoonist with the Little Orchestra Society and the New York Chamber Soloists.

On historical bassoon, I am the principal bassoonist with Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Boston Baroque, The American Classical Orchestra, Concert Royal, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra in New York, Washington Bach Consort, and Musica Angelica in Los Angeles. I also have played as solo bassoonist with the Age of Enlightenment, Wiener Akademie, Philharmonia Baroque, Rebel, Hanover Band, and the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra. I have been a soloist in many of the world’s great concert halls, including The Musikverein in Vienna, Alice Tully Hall in New York, and Jordan Hall in Boston.

I am married to Jill LeVine, a splendid photographer in New York City where we live with (God help us) two beautiful teenage daughters, Hannah and Lena, and two siamese cats. Hannah, a ninth grader at LaGuardia Arts High School, is passionate about dance and Lena, a seventh grader at the Center School, loves writing songs and playing guitar. During the summer, we all try to spend as much time as possible at our house in the woods of Vermont.