Backstage Pass: Adam Trussell

Adam Trussell, contrabassoon with the Houston Symphony.

Backstage Pass: Adam Trussell

This month, we welcome a new member of the Houston Symphony family, contrabassoon Adam Trussell, who joined the orchestra in June. Before joining the Houston Symphony, Adam was a full-time member of the Oregon Symphony (2011–2019) as second bassoon and of the Omaha Symphony (2005– 2011) as assistant principal bassoon. He is also principal bassoon of the Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Adam Trussell, contrabasson, shows off his cat, Eugene.
My batcat, Eugene, on Halloween.

Adam has played with many orchestras, including the Seattle, St. Louis, Kansas City, Monterrey (Mexico), and New World Symphonies; the Moscow Chamber Orchestra; and the Boston Philharmonic. During summers, he has played with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music; Colorado Music Festival; Oregon Bach Festival; Breckenridge Music Festival; Bellingham Festival of Music; the AIMS Festival in Graz, Austria; and a festival in Denmark with the Danish Chamber Players.

In addition to his performance career, Adam teaches private students and is currently on leave from the faculties of Lewis & Clark College, the University of Portland, and Concordia University. While he was in Nebraska, he taught at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University.

Adam Trussell, contrabassoon, snowboarding at Mount Hood, Oregon.
Snowboarding on the top of the Palmer Lift at Mount Hood.

Originally from Portland, Maine, Adam earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Gregg Henegar and Richard Svoboda. He received his Master of Music degree from Rice University, where he studied with Ben Kamins.

How did you choose your instrument?
When I was in sixth grade, my mom belatedly signed me up for band in December. When I met with the director, she informed me the bassoon was all she had left for me to play—so I played bassoon!

What inspired you to become a musician?
A tour of Brazil I took with the New England Conservatory’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra made me want to be a professional musician. Playing Mahler’s Fifth Symphony on the tour was an incredible experience.

What is the most interesting solo you have played?
One of the coolest contrabassoon solos I have had the pleasure of playing is at the beginning of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. The solo feels gigantic even though it’s only a few measures long. It’s dark and mysterious and sets the tone for the piece. I often tell people the character the contrabassoon is typecast for is the swamp monster. This character makes cameos in many pieces, but this one is one of its best.

Adam Trussell, contrabasson, waterskiing on the Columbia River.
Waterskiing on the Columbia River.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of music?
One of my hobbies has become giving haircuts to friends—I tell people my retirement job is going to be opening a barber shop. I imagine a dog going to the shop with me. I’ve always been a dog person, but I’ve been too busy traveling to have my own. In the meantime, I’ve inadvertently become a cat person! In one of the photos I have included, you will see my cat, Eugene, dressed up in his Halloween costume. I also enjoy outdoor activities, especially boating.

 

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