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    McCracken, Charles

    Bassoonist and contrabassoonist who attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, and studied with Mark Popkin and Arthur Weisberg.


    In 1978, he joined the American Symphony Orchestra and in 1988, became their Principal Bassoon.


    Other groups with whom he has worked include the American Composers Orchestra, the American Modern Ensemble, the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra, the Big City Bassoon Ensemble, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Eos, the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, the Guarneri Quartet, KISS, the Metropolitan Opera, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Musica Sacra, the National Chorale Orchestra, the New England Bach Festival Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the New York Chamber Symphony, the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York Pops, the North Country Chamber Players, OK Mozart, the Opera Orchestra of New York, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Solisti New York, and the Sylvan Winds.


    On 11th August 1990, he and fellow bassoonist Arthur Weisberg participated at the International Double Reed Society in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Their program comprised Francois Devienne’s “Sonata in G minor” and George Frideric Handel’s “Trio Sonata in G minor”.


    The Sylvan Winds appeared at Weill Recital Hall on 10th January 1994, in a recital that included the “Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452” of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Chung Won Hong at the keys, “Three Pieces for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon” by Walter Piston, “To the Dark Wood” by George Rochberg, and “Wind Quintet No. 5, Op. 88” by Anton Reicha.


    On 8th and 9th February 2002, the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra gave a pair of concerts at Bard College and Vassar College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where Charles shone in a rendering of “Suite-concertino in F major, Op. 16” by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari.


    Charles and bassoonist Gilbert Dejean and pianist Elizabeth DiFelice delivered the world premiere of Robert Paterson’s “Elegy for Two Bassoons and Piano” at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church in New York on 5th October 2008.  The piece was commissioned by Charles in honour of his father, also named Charles McCracken, the late, great cellist.


    On 22nd March 2009, the American Symphony Orchestra took the stage in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for a performance of George Whitefield Chadwick’s “Rip Van Winkle Overture”, William Grant Still’s “Africa”, “Darker America” and “Symphony No. 2 in G minor (Song of a New Race)”, with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera, and Edgard Varese’s “Offrandes”.


    The Blanche Moyse Chorale and New England Bach Festival Orchestra joined forces at Marlboro College in Vermont on 2nd October 2011 for three cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach:  “Am Abend aber desselgiben Sabbats”, “Freue dich, erloeste Schar”, and “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben”.


    On 7th June 2012, the American Modern Ensemble appeared at Merkin Hall for a recital that included “Block Ice and Propane” by Erik Friedlander, “Different Trains” by Steve Reich, “Road Movies” by John Adams, “Sextet” and “Sonata for Bassoon and Piano” by Robert Paterson, “Take the ‘A’ Train” by Billy Strayhorn, and “Woodlawn Drive” by D.J. Sparr.


    The American Symphony Orchestra performed “Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64” by Richard Strauss, “Andante and Rondo Ungarese, Op. 35” and “Bassoon Concerto in F, Op. 75” by Carl Maria von Weber, “Tuba Concerto” by Menachem Zur and “Vocalise” by Sergei Rachmaninoff on 12th and 13th October 2012.


    Recordings on which Charles appears include:  Angelus by Milton Nascimento; The Best of Times and Moonlighting by Gary LeMel; Chatkin/Moore:  Chamber Works and Jongen/Bernard/D’Indy/Schmitt with the Sylvan Winds; Glass Box by Philip Glass; Goeb/Sydeman:  Chamber Works; I Am Anne Frank by Andrea Marcovicci; Igor Stravinsky/C.F. Ramuz:  The Soldier’s Tale for 3 Actors & Instrumental Ensemble with Solisti New York; Star Crossing:  Music of Robert Paterson with the American Modern Ensemble; Works by Hector Campos Parsi/Max Lifchitz/Roberto Sierra with the Bronx Arts Ensemble; and, Wonder in the World by Kelli O’Hara.


    He can also be heard on the soundtracks of The Chamber, Gods and Monsters, and S.W.A.T.


    In the field of music education, he has given master classes and recitals at Ithaca College, Louisiana State University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, Ohio State University, the SUNY Fredonia School of Music, and the University of Oklahoma.



    1. http://www.americansymphony.org/about/orchestra
    2. http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=351257509&targetid=profile
    3. http://www.nationalchorale.org/About.htm
    4. http://www.oratoriosocietyofny.org/ChorusList.html
    5. http://www.bmcvt.org/summer?amp;view=article&id=9&Itemid=10
    6. http://www.hbdirect.com/album/19400-works-by-parsi-lifchitz-sierra-bronx-arts-ensemble.html
    7. http://www.chesky.com/stsota.html
    8. http://www.bard.edu/news/releases/pr/fstory.php?id=362
    9. http://www.idrs.org/publications/controlled/DR/DR13.2/DR13.2.Klimko.Desk.html
    10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Weisberg
    11. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/01/15/arts/review-music-a-mix-of-tuneful-new-and-comfortable-old.html
    12. http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1994
    13. http://www.compositiontoday.com/concerts/3389.asp
    14. http://library.newmusicusa.org/directory/performance.aspx?PerformanceID=380
    15. http://www.saxtonrose.com/notebook/2008/09/06/2008-2009-events-schedule/
    16. http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=6906
    17. http://www.bmcvt.org/summer?amp;view=article&id=9&Itemid=10
    18. http://www.americanmodernensemble.org/schedule_11-12.htm
    19. http://events.buffalonews.com/events/2012/sep/29/94147/
    20. http://www.fredonia.edu/music/community/drd.asp
    21. http://issuu.com/fishercenter/docs/aso_oct2012
    22. http://www.dramonline.org/performers/mccracken-charles
    23. http://www.cduniverse.com/classical.asp?performer=Charles+McCracken+[Bassoon]
    24. http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=82467
    25. http://lucidculture.wordpress.com/tag/charles-mccracken-bassoon/
    26. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/charles-mccracken-mn0002469742
    27. http://www.fredonia.edu/music/community/pdf/doublereed_12.pdf














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