OboeBass!, Carrie Vecchione, oboe/English horn, Rolf Erdahl, double bass, first performed as a duo in 1999 when we premiered Timothy Goplerud’s tango for English horn and bass, “It Takes Two . . .” for the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructor’s Conference.
We started as a married couple looking for repertoire written for our instrumentation of oboe/English horn and double bass. We discovered very little had been written for the combination. Fortunately, we had good, prolific composer friends, and continue to find new composers and performing opportunities. The wide range of styles and expression and the high quality and appeal of the music written for us convinced us of the possibility to pursue a career as a duo specializing in new music for oboe and double bass.
Playing as a duo has become our focus as performers. In the space of a few years we have effectively created a new repertoire for oboe/English horn and double bass duo by our commissions and performances. Our efforts have been recognized by recital series engagements, a Minnesota Public Radio Talking Volumes broadcast, grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Subito, Encore, grants from the American Composers Forum. We have been awarded commissioning grants from Harvard’s Fromm Foundation, Chamber Music America, The George Family Foundation, Jerome Composers Commissioning Project. Our debut 2008 recording, “It Takes Two . . .” for Centaur Records features all original works for oboe and bass duo, mostly expressly written for us. In 2012 we recorded two albums featuring the music of composer Margi Griebling-Haigh, Askelad and the Seven Silver Ducks, a book/CD retelling a classic Norwegian folktale, illustrated by the composer, and, joined by pianist William Eddins and narrator, Steve Staruch, The Story of Babar the Little Elephant, a musical accompaniment to Jean de Brunhoff’s classic children’s story. Our 2016 album Monk Fish Tango consists of three remarkable duos for English horn and bass composed for us by Timothy Goplerud. We perform recitals and educational programs around the country, and widely throughout Minnesota.
Our approach to programming is to draw audiences into our musical journey. Our repertoire is virtuosic and demanding, yet accessible, with folksong, jazz, tango, and literary inspirations. By the end of the recital, our goal is to have made chamber music and new music comprehensible, engaging, and enjoyable for our audience. We perform music that catches their ear as the ink dries and sends them out the door humming a new tune.
As Pages of Music with Rolf and Carrie, we present educational programs linking music and children’s literature. In this role, we were recently chosen to be Minnesota Public Radio Artists in Residence to present “Class Notes” educational programs in Twin Cities schools. In March of 2014 we present our first residency as Roster Artists for the South Dakota Arts Council in Sisseton, SD. In 2016 we return to South Dakota for residencies in Sioux Falls and Yankton. We have also performed as Roster Artists for the Minnesota State Arts Board, Young Audiences of Minnesota, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s CONNECT Program to the Schools, the Minnesota Orchestra’s YPSCA, and the Duluth “Superior Symphony’s “Music to You” programs. As a compact group representing wind and string sections, we use our instrumental demonstrations and literary connections to introduce the whole range of orchestral colors. We’re gratified by how well these programs have been received by teachers and librarians, and have captivated audiences ranging from preschool through senior citizens.