Cornelia Sommer, Principal Bassoon
John and Carol Vineyard Chair
Cornelia Sommer is a bassoonist, arranger, and educator dedicated to sharing music with diverse audiences and expanding the bassoon’s repertoire. Originally from Seattle, she is now based in New York City where she recently earned her D.M.A. at The Juilliard School.
Sommer’s performance and research projects have focused on music inspired by fairy tales. As a recipient of the Presser Foundation Graduate Music Award and an International Double Reed Society Grant, she will release her first album, “New Enchantments: Fairy Tale Music for Bassoon,” in late 2022. Her doctoral dissertation, also on fairy tale music, was awarded the Richard F. French Prize for an outstanding dissertation. On Instagram, Sommer (@pulcinellie_) has a large following for her weekly videos of bassoon excerpts from fairy tale music.
In addition to her position as principal bassoon of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Sommer has regularly appeared with the Seattle Symphony, International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico, New World Symphony, and, on historical instruments, American Bach Soloists and Juilliard415. As a chamber musician, she has performed with the Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet and at the Kennedy Center, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and Fischoff Competition.
Sommer actively seeks to expand the bassoon’s repertoire through her collaborations with composers and her own arrangements. In addition to the commissions and arrangements on her forthcoming album, her arrangements have been performed around the world by members of the Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, and her arrangement of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella for bassoon and piano was released in 2021 through TrevCo Music Publishing.
An experienced educator, Sommer teaches and tutors bassoon, piano, music history, music theory, and writing. She has served as a professor of music history and ethics at Juilliard, a Teaching Fellow in arts education at Juilliard, and bassoon instructor in the Yale Department of Music. She has presented masterclasses and lectures at the University of Alabama, Colorado State University, the University of Central Arkansas, and the International Double Reed Society Convention.
A graduate of Juilliard (D.M.A.), Yale University (M.M.), and Indiana University (B.M.), Sommer has studied bassoon with Frank Morelli, Kathleen McLean, William Ludwig, and Francine Peterson, and baroque bassoon with Dominic Teresi.