North Dakota Museum of Art premiers newest commission, ‘Bassoon Trio: Three of a Kind’ by Michael Wittgraf, Feb. 10

The North Dakota Museum of Art premiers its newest commission, Bassoon Trio: Three of a Kind, by contemporary composer Michael Wittgraf, Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. during the Myra Presents The Poulenc Trio concert.

Bassoon Trio: Three of a Kind is a new work by contemporary composer Michael Wittgraf, who holds the title of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at UND. The bassoonist for the Poulenc Trio, Bryan Young will join fellow bassoonists Wittgraf and Cory Hunter, Assistant Professor of Music at North Dakota’s Mayville State University. Hunter has also taught music theory at the University of Memphis and applied bassoon at Arkansas’s Harding University. The next evening the concert will be repeated at Mayville State University.

Bassoonist Cory Hunter, after learning the new work, writes:

As far as bassoon trios go, this piece is absolutely one of a kind. Not only are quarter tone fingerings employed in all parts, but Dr. Wittgraff does a fantastic job at exploring the full range of the instrument and its many colors and characteristics. The piece weaves together lyrical sections with very exciting, rhythmic sections.

 In addition to this, Dr. Wittgraff takes advantage of the bassoon’s ability to have a wide palate of articulations within all sections of the tune. Finally, the ending is a rip-roaring combination of thematic material that ends with a B-flat major chord.

This is a great addition to the repertoire—original, challenging, and a great way to showcase the bassoon.

The Bassoon Trio is funded in part by Julie Blehm Amy and Kevin Muiderman and the estate of the late artist Lois Johnson. The concert is funded by the Myra Foundation, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and numerous individuals.