ROSL Recitals is now just days away! Starting on Monday 6 August at the Royal Scots Club, ROSL ARTS prizewinners and scholars will be taking to the stage three times a day, for 30 concerts in two weeks. Today, we speak to bassoonist Luís Santos, one of our scholars currently visiting the UK from Perth, Australia. Recently studying at the University of Western Australia, after his month-long trip he will begin studying at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam under the tutelage of Simon van Holen. 

What made you choose the bassoon?

I am not particularly sure why but I have loved the bassoon ever since I first saw one. I think the range of sounds it can create, as well as the incredible variety of repertoire. I think it might also have something to do with my musical tastes; I have a real affinity for early composers such as Couperin, Rameau, and Boismortier, as well as more recent composers such as Gubaidulina, Berio, and Boutry who have all written incredible bassoon music. Aside from its beautiful solo repertoire, the bassoon has a unique role in the orchestra. I have always described it as the cello of the winds as sometimes it functions as a bass instrument but can also produce soaring tenor-like solos. One thing that the bassoon has over the cello, though, it that the bassoon can produce so many different characters and affections that are simply not as idiomatic on the cello.

How do British audiences compare to Australian audiences?

Personally, I think they are very similar but there is certainly more of a classical music culture in Britain. When I’m watching a performance here, it seems that the people around me are more enthusiastic to express their enjoyment of a work. It is really heart-warming to see and hear this.

Luis Santos

Luís (right) at last week's performance at St James's Piccadilly, with fellow ROSL alumni Gamal Khamis (left) piano and Eliot Gresty (centre) clarinet, who will both be joining him in Edinburgh.

What are you looking forward to most about your time in the UK?

I’ve already had many highlights here, including watching the UK premiere of Georg Friderich Haas’s Concerto Grosso No. 1, but I am most excited to see Sir Simon Rattle conduct Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges which is my favourite non-contemporary opera! He is a versatile musician and I am really looking forward to seeing what he does with the London Symphony Orchestra in the future.

Are there any other performances you’re going to try and see while up at the Fringe?

I am doing my best to fill my diary with as many musical performances as I can to see while I am there! I have never heard Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé live but it is my favourite non-contemporary ballet (do you think there’s a pattern to my favourite non-contemporary works…?) and to hear Igor Stravinsky’s recently-discovered Funeral Song is a very rare experience. It’s a bit upsetting that I cannot make it to see Des canyons aux étoiles… with Pierre-Laurent Aimard but I strongly encourage everyone to watch this unforgettable piece with one of the greatest living Messiaen interpreters. 

View the full ROSL Recitals programme here to find out when Luís is performing. Buy your tickets here.

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