Cornelia Sommer, Principal Bassoon

Cornelia Sommer, Principal Bassoon

John and Carol Vineyard Chair

“I can’t wait to return to Ithaca for my first concert with the CCO this fall! During my short trip for the audition, I was inspired not only by the natural beauty of the region, but also by meeting several members of the vibrant arts community. Best of all was attending part of a CCO rehearsal, where I met many of the musicians that I will have the privilege of performing with soon.”


Cornelia Sommer (principal bassoon, John and Carol Vineyard Chair) 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 is a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School. She has been a member of the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico since 2017, and has regularly appeared with the Seattle Symphony, New World Symphony, Symphony in C, and, on historical instruments, American Bach Soloists and Juilliard415. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Coeur D’Alene Symphony and an Indiana University orchestra. She was a Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition Semi-Finalist and the recipient of the Yale School of Music Alumni Prize.

Sommer actively seeks to expand the bassoon’s repertoire through her collaborations with composers and her own arrangements. As a recipient of the Presser Foundation Graduate Music Award and an International Double Reed Society grant, she will soon record her first solo album, “New Enchantments,” a collection of commissions and arrangements of music inspired by fairy tales. Her arrangements have been performed around the world by members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, and her arrangement of Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella” for bassoon and piano is published by TrevCo Music Publishing.

An experienced educator, Cornelia Sommer teaches and tutors bassoon, piano, music history, music theory, and writing. She has served as a professor of music history and Teaching Fellow in arts education at Juilliard, Teaching Artist in Yale’s Music-In-Schools Initiative, bassoon instructor in the Yale Department of Music, and faculty member at Seattle’s Vivace Chamber Players.

A graduate of Yale University (M.M.) and Indiana University (B.M.), she has studied bassoon with Frank Morelli, Kathleen McLean, William Ludwig and Francine Peterson, and baroque bassoon with Dominic Teresi.

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