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Principal Bassoon, Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Chair

Ann Bilderback

Ann Bilderback became the principal bassoonist of the Kansas City Symphony in 1999 and holds the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Chair. Prior to her appointment, she served as principal bassoonist with the Louisiana Philharmonic and second bassoonist with the Omaha Symphony. She has participated in many music festivals throughout her career, including the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Round Top Festival Institute and the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Bilderback received her bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and her master’s degree from Rice University. A native of Chicago, her principal teachers were K. David Van Hoesen, John Hunt and Benjamin Kamins. She resides in Olathe, Kan., with her husband Ken and her children, Susan and James.


Ann Bilderback

Ann Bilderback became the principal bassoonist of the Kansas City Symphony in 1999 and holds the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Chair. Prior to her appointment, she served as principal bassoonist with the Louisiana Philharmonic and second bassoonist with the Omaha Symphony. She has participated in many music festivals throughout her career, including the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Round Top Festival Institute and the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Bilderback received her bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and her master’s degree from Rice University. A native of Chicago, her principal teachers were K. David Van Hoesen, John Hunt and Benjamin Kamins. She resides in Olathe, Kan., with her husband Ken and her children, Susan and James.

Ravel Piano Concerto…Jeffrey Kahane, conductor/soloist

My favorites are Disney movies! I can’t pick just three – Toy Story, The Incredibles, Robin Hood, and the 2015 Cinderella.

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6. The opening solo requires technical excellence, and it is critical to capture the proper mood… after all, the bassoonist is setting the tone for the entire work!

I’m a Chicago girl, so my favorite is deep dish sausage pizza.

We are definitely a musical family! My husband is a French horn player and my children play trumpet and flute. My dad sings in the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. My mom claims to have no musical talent, but she can be found clapping loudly in the audience and out at the Symphony Shop in the lobby selling many fun treasures.

Before I play each subscription concert, I always look around the audience and pick someone to play to. Occasionally, I choose someone I know, but most of the time, it’s an audience member that I don’t know. I feel like it helps me to have someone special that I’m sharing my music with.

I would encourage them to dive in head first! Being a professional musician takes years of dedication and study. Listen to lots of recordings of professionals and figure out what you like and what you do not like. Practice diligently every day, focusing on the basics of rhythm and intonation. Surround yourself with other talented young musicians by attending clinics and masterclasses in your instrument and definitely attend summer music camps. And be sure to take private lessons with an excellent teacher.

I vividly remember my first piano recital…I played Snappy Feet, and I was five years old.

I am an avid gardener and my latest favorite book for beginners on growing crops is by Colin McCrate and Brad Halm called “Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard.” Their other book, “High-Yield Vegetable Gardening” is also fantastic for more advanced veggie gardeners.