Lipnick steps in as McCray injury forces changes

Lewis Lipnick. Photo: Scott Suchman
Lewis Lipnick. Photo: Scott Suchman

On July 22, Glenn Korff School of Music Associate Professor of Bassoon Jeff McCray suffered a devastating injury to his right knee, a ruptured patellar tendon. Doctors say it will be 6-12 months before he is fully recovered.

“Due to restrictions of keeping my foot up when seated and the dimensions of the brace I’m in pretty much prevent me from being able to play the bassoon in a healthy way, so I’m forced to take some time off,” McCray said.

The recital on September 9 was always meant to be a collaboration between McCray and Lewis Lipnick, contrabassoonist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. Lewis has graciously agreed to fill in the portions of the recital that McCray was going to play.

“I will still be appearing on this program, not as a bassoonist, but as a conductor,” McCray said. “I’ll be conducting the World Premiere of Daniel Baldwin’s Concerto for Contrabassoon and Strings, with Lewis Lipnick as soloist.”

Lewis Lipnick’s professional musical training included studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory in 1968. Since 1970, he has been the principal contrabassoonist of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. It was at Lipnick’s suggestion that the National Symphony commissioned Gunther Schuller to compose his Concerto for Contrabassoon and Orchestra, the first concerto ever written for the contrabassoon. The world premiere took place in 1979 with Mr. Lipnick as soloist and Mstislav Rostropovich conducting the National Symphony Orchestra. Lipnick went on to perform the European and New York premieres of the Concerto under the baton of the composer. In 2006, Mr. Lipnick commissioned and premiered a new concerto for contrabassoon by the Finnish composer Kalevi Aho with Andrew Litton conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway. This world premiere was recorded live by the Swedish record company, BIS, and their CD release of this work has earned dozens of enthusiastic reviews from all around the world. Immediately following the Norway premiere, Mr. Lipnick traveled to Finland, and performed the Aho concerto with the orchestras of Turku, Lahti, and Kuopio. In February of 2009, he performed the U.S. premiere of the Aho Contrabassoon Concerto at the Interlochen Arts Academy with Leonard Slatkin conducting.

In September, 2010, Lipnick switched from the contrabassoon to the new, acoustically superior Wolf contraforte, which he now plays exclusively. In 2012, he performed the Helsinki Premiere of the Aho concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic on the contraforte with John Storgårds conducting. Last summer, Lewis performed the world premiere of Noelia Escalzo’s Tango Fantasy for solo contraforte and orchestra at the 2016 International Double Reed Society convention in at Columbus State University, in Columbus, Georgia.

Besides playing in the National Symphony and pursuing an active solo career, Mr. Lipnick has conducted seminars in contrabassoon and bassoon performance at several institutions of higher learning across the United States and at the prestigious Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland.

Mr. Lipnick is also internationally respected as a leading expert in the field of electronics and acoustics. He and has written numerous articles on these subjects for publications throughout the United States, Europe, and Russia. He has also served as a consultant to the United States Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He also operates an acoustical design consulting firm.