Bassoon - Full Bio

Alison Wormell (they/them) is a non-binary British-Australian bassoonist and creative practitioner, living between the UK, Australia and Finland. They have performed globally with professional orchestras from each of these three countries. Alison is currently Acting Principal Bassoon with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra in Rovaniemi, Finland. This is their second time in this position, and they will work for the Autumn 2023 season and part of the Spring 2024 season.

As an orchestral musician, Alison has worked with the London Mozart Players, and had a stint as Acting Tutti Bassoon and Contrabassoon in the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from August to December 2022. Alison has also performed with the Opera Australia, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras and is on the extra list for Opera North (Leeds). In 2018, Alison held the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Bassoon Fellowship, mentored by bassoonists Matthew Wilkie and Todd Gibson-Cornish. This was preceded by a fellowship with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and followed by the 2019-20 Pathways Scheme with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Alison’s personal projects focus on combining their non-musical creative practise and value for the outdoors with their bassoon performance. It entails reframing western art music performance, exploring diverse and inviting forms of delivery, and combining spoken word with musical offerings. Current and future projects include videography elements, commissioned works, with an awareness of increasing diversity in musical and outdoors arenas. Investing in the intersection of the arts and outdoors is also valuable to Alison as a route to maintaining the relevance of art music amongst the public, while also drawing attention to the value of exploring beyond our home and familiar places.

Alison is the producer at Play Outdoors Productions. POP is a film production house and community for underrepresented voices in music and the outdoors. It is funded by the Royal College of Music London’s Accelerate grant scheme. Their mission is to amplify marginalised voices, explore new forms of storytelling, champion new compositions by emerging composers, and increase the accessibility of art music. Their first film Conduits for Joy is about making reeds and bicycle frames and was released in February 2023. POP’s second film Beyond Words is currently in production and slated for release in 2024.

Alison’s most notable interdisciplinary endeavour prior to the founding of the initiative Play Outdoors Productions was a series of 7 short films created in partnership with FABLE ARTS. This headlined their 2021 “SOLOS” concert series. Four of these self-narrated films track Alison’s journeys out of London by bicycle, and their performances in the English countryside, the others providing supporting interviews and a look behind the scenes. The films were presented as part of a weekend online installation, including an interactive map of Alison’s cycle routes.

Alison graduated from the Royal College of Music with an Artists Diploma of Performance in July 2022, studying with Joost Bosdijk, Sarah Burnett, and Andrea de Flammineis. Their studies were generously supported by the Tegner Scholarship, Craxton Memorial Trust, and the Munster Trust.

Alison also completed a Masters in Performance with Distinction in 2021. For their final Masters recital, they composed linking string interludes between works by Vivaldi, Koechlin, and Woodkid to create an experiential arc exploring dance, meditation, and grief. In particular, Alison’s reinterpretation of Woodkid’s song Shift marked an entry into reimagining popular/electronic music in traditional western art music instrumentations, with an eye for extending the instruments’ performance technique to create powerful, blended sound worlds.

In the Honours portion of their Bachelor of Music, Alison wrote an 18,000 word thesis exploring the influence of the Wolf contraforte and Fox Fast System contrabassoon on 21st century composition. This was titled “Composing for the Contrabassoon: An analysis of four 21st century works in the context of recent advances to the contrabassoon’s construction,” (available upon request). They were awarded first class honours for this, together with their final recital in which they performed on the bassoon and contrabassoon. Alison’s thesis was supervised by Jeanell Carrigan, and their undergraduate bassoon professor was Andrew Barnes.

Updated January 2024