Bassoon - Full Bio

Alison Wormell (they/them) is an Australian bassoonist and creative practitioner, living in London. They have performed globally with professional orchestras from the UK, Finland, and across Australia. They are currently completing an Artists Diploma of Performance at the Royal College of Music, studying with Joost Bosdijk, Sarah Burnett, and Andrea de Flammineis. Alison’s studies are generously supported by the Tegner Scholarship, Craxton Memorial Trust, and the Munster Trust.

As an orchestral musician, Alison held the 2018 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. Their orchestral pedigree is strengthened by work with the London Mozart Players, and a stint as Acting Principal Bassoon in the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Finland in their 2022 Spring season. They have also performed extensively in Australia with the Opera Australia, Sydney, Adelaide, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.

Alison graduated from RCM with 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 undergraduate degree, 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. Their thesis was supervised by Jeanell Carrigan, and their undergraduate bassoon professor was Andrew Barnes.

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.

Their most notable endeavour in this interdisciplinary genre was a series of 7 short films created in partnership with FABLE ARTS, headlining 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 their routes.

Updated April 2022