2020 | June 7th | ‘Over the Rainbow’

***This event is being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be in touch very shortly with all those who have signed up – please don’t flood us with messages!***


A film music playday for double-reed ensemble

Sunday 7th June 2020, 10:00 – 17:00
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

A wonderful musical venue, and a great opportunity for oboists and bassoonists of all ages to play some of the great theme tunes and songs from classic films, including:

Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz)

The Great Escape

The Dam Busters

The Ugly Duckling (Hans Christian Anderson)

Feed the Birds (Mary Poppins)

Maria (West Side Story)

Other events through the day will include a warm-up, a reed adjustment session to help you get those reeds working well, and a breathing and tone production session – all to help you enjoy your playing even more! There will also be trade stands with instruments, accessories, and advice on purchases and/or instrument upgrades.

There will be a special lunchtime concert in the RNCM Concert Hall given by David Cowdy and Laurence Perkins, who lead the ‘Young Oboes’ and ‘Young Bassoons’ sessions (specifically for school-age double-reed players), promoted by the Junior RNCM. This lunchtime concert will include the wonderful Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano by Francis Poulenc

Event fees:

Adult amateurs (non-BDRS members): £40

BDRS members: £30

Students: £15 including one year’s BDRS membership

Under-18s with non-playing guardians, plus BDRS student members: free admission

Advance booking essential – click here for the online booking form.

2020 | April 21st – 25th | Five-day Oboe & Bassoon Courses

***This event is being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be in touch very shortly with all those who have signed up – please don’t flood us with messages!***

The BDRS is once again delighted to be promoting these two parallel courses for oboists and bassoonists, to be held at Park Place, near Wickham, in Hampshire, in April 2020.

John Anderson

The oboe course is led by John Anderson (oboe tutor, Royal College of Music), assisted by Alec Harmon.

With thanks to Crowthers of Canterbury (The Oboe Shop) for financial support.

Laurence Perkins

The bassoon course is led by Laurence Perkins (bassoon soloist and Hyperion solo-recording artist), assisted by Amy Thompson.

With thanks to Howarth of London for financial support.


The courses both begin on Tuesday lunchtime (21st April), ending on Saturday (25th April) at approximately 4.30pm.

Adult players of all levels are welcome.

In-depth sessions offer the chance to explore good posture and breathing, sound quality and tuning, fluency of technique, effective practice, solo performance for those who wish (with pianist Yoshiko Endo), “the art of musical interpretation”, orchestral excerpts, and tackling performance nerves. There will also be tutored ensemble-playing.

Park Place is just short car ride away from the South Downs National Park, and is a wonderfully quiet, comfortable, and spacious venue – the perfect setting for a five-day residential course.


Park Place

All events will take place at Park Place, Wickham (near Fareham), Hampshire, (near the M3 and M27 motorways, ten miles from Portsmouth / approx. two hours’ drive from London or Bristol, two and a half hours from Birmingham. Other options are a direct train from London or Bristol to nearby Fareham station; Southampton airport is nearby – just thirty minutes by direct train to Fareham; and London Gatwick
airport to Fareham is about ninety minutes by direct trains).

Click here to apply.

2020 | August 15th – 22nd | Dartington Music Summer School

Dartington Music Summer School are delighted to be joined by the hugely talented Magnard Ensemble, who will lead coaching and classes for wind players of both single and double reeds. There are organised sessions, and a great programme of classes and ensemble playing throughout. The ever-popular Steve Dummer, clarinettist and conductor (Horsham Symphony, CoMA Sussex), leads the wind band too – a great, relaxed open course with a public performance in the Great Hall at Dartington at the end of the week. There’s a whole host of other activities, concerts and events happening during the festival which wind players can get involved with, and it all takes place in the beautiful surroundings of the medieval courtyard and Grade II* listed gardens!

If you’d like to know more please click here.

[N.B. This is not a BDRS event.]

2019 | 5th December | Memorial for John Whitfield

A Memorial Celebration for John Whitfield

John Whitfield

Many of you will have known and worked with John Whitfield – alongside him as an extraordinary bassoonist, or under his baton in one of the many outstandingly creative events he led from the early 1980s onwards.

After a long decline, John died at Trinity Hospice late on Monday 4th November – a day filled with music, especially Bach, in the company of his very good friend Will Casson-Smith, and in the evening Jane Salmon, who played Bach’s cello music to him on behalf of all his friends.

John was totally himself to the last, both his wicked wit and his devotion to music shining through all that he had to contend with. His last creative act was to conjure up a concert at the Wigmore Hall, which took place on Thursday 5th December. A distinguished line-up of musicians performed two new arrangements by John, for winds and double bass, of Bartók and Brahms, surrounding a performance of Bach’s Chaconne for solo violin by Krysia Osostowicz.

Further details are available here.

2018 | July | Music for Rare Instruments

The BDRS has been blessed with the generous gift of access to a repertoire of downloadable music for the rarer instruments of the double reed family by Jennifer Paull, whom you can read about here on Wikipedia.

Jennifer spent her lifetime playing, instigating, and creating a repertoire for the oboe d’amore, then publishing and recording it. This then spread to all the rare members of the oboe family, so there are many works that are for ensemble too – from simple to advanced. When Jennifer retired, she donated it all to WIMA. It is downloadable free-of-charge (see below). Every item has a sound illustration – either computer-generated or her own recordings where available. Realising that not everybody has a bass oboe or musette, or even oboe d’amore for that matter, there are alternative parts for oboe and bassoon where applicable. It represents a lifetime of work.

The repertoire is downloaded by many players and Jennifer wishes the British and Australasian Double Reed Societies to have direct links to it.

Each score contains a composer biography and a full programme note and cover so that putting it into a binder makes a complete book. There is the sound recording too.

The link to the archive is here and there are even Christmas Carols for a consort group by Ian Keith Harris, the Australian composer.

“Working exclusively for rare instruments is not a question of making money. It’s a question of creating the repertoire so that they cease to be ‘rare’. My goal has been to make them well-known to composers. When I first started working with the d’amore in 1964, there were between five and ten instruments in GB. Nobody wanted to play it or even knew about it and there certainly was virtually no repertoire. I am delighted to say things are now very different. I hope you and your members will avail themselves freely of it!”
Jennifer Paull, 26th June 2018

The BDRS is extremely grateful to Jennifer for this gift and is sure that much pleasure will be derived from this music.