Title/Position: Associate Professor, BassoonProfile:
Why did you choose music as your career?
I think I first decided that I would be a professional musician shortly after I started playing bassoon in the 9th grade. I fell in love with orchestral film scores at a young age. However as a child I studied piano and played saxophone in my school band. Neither the saxophone or the piano play as regularly in orchestra as the bassoon. Taking up the bassoon made it possible for me to join my local youth orchestra and after my first rehearsal I was hooked! Within my first year of bassoon study I made the Alabama All State Orchestra. I knew someday I would be a professional bassoonist. Around the same time I started the bassoon I was fortunate to be offered a weekly gig playing piano for a small local church in my home town and I used the money I earned playing piano to pay my bassoon teacher. Those bassoon lessons turned out to be a good investment!
What would you say are the most outstanding highlights of your professional life, to date?
I am very fortunate that music has made it possible for me to travel extensively in the US and abroad. Bassoon has taken me all over the world and I have played with a lot of wonderful musicians. It is hard to pick one experience but I would say in general being able to travel and make music with new people continues to excite me. Besides my own music making it has been incredibly rewarding to see my own students make musical breakthroughs. I have enjoyed listening to degree recitals and marveling at the improvement that they have made through years of study and practice.
What would a prospective student be surprised to learn about you?
I love the outdoors! I love hiking in the mountains and riding my bike and playing golf. I think the many years of practicing indoors has made me really appreciate time spent outside.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My approach to teaching is multifaceted. I think first it is my duty to make sure students have a thorough education in the fundamentals of their instrument. Through etudes, long tones, tonguing exercises and strategically selected repertoire I try to give students the necessary tools to overcome the inherent difficulties of the bassoon. When a student gains greater control over their instrument it allows them to produce the music they hear in their mind. I also think it is important that I share the practical professional knowledge I have gained from many years of playing and teaching the bassoon for a living. Finally I want to make sure that I encourage and guide a student along the path that they choose. Every student is different and each of them can vary widely in their musical and professional aspirations. I want to help my students reach their goals even if their professional path takes them in a direction that I had not previously thought of.
Gabriel Beavers is the newly appointed associate professor of bassoon in the Department of Instrumental Performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Prior to joining the faculty at Frost, he served on the faculty of Louisiana State University School of Music for six years. Formerly a fellow with the New World Symphony, he has also served as principal bassoon with the Virginia Symphony, acting principal bassoon with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony and as acting second bassoon with the Milwaukee Symphony for one season. Gabriel Beavers has also previously held the position of visiting assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Music. In addition to his orchestral activities, he has an active schedule of solo and chamber performances. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Virginia Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony and Louisiana Sinfonietta and has given recitals throughout the United States and at international festivals in Brazil. His solo CD Gordon Jacob: Music for Bassoon has been released to critical acclaim on the Mark Masters Label. His recording of the Dinos Constantinides Bassoon Concerto is also available on I-tunes. He attended both Boston University and Southern Methodist University where he studied with Matthew Ruggiero and Wilfred Roberts.