April 10, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Desire to be Different Leads VSU Professor to the Bassoon

VALDOSTA — Dr. Shannon Lowe discovered the bassoon as a middle school student on a quest to be different. She asked to play the English horn initially, but her school did not own one.

The Valdosta State University assistant professor recalled, “My band director said, ‘It’s either oboe or bassoon.’ I did not know what a bassoon was, but it sounded neat, so I said, ‘Give me the bassoon, then.’ My band director gave me the instrument and instructional book and said, ‘You are on your own.’ That night, I took it home to my parents, and we figured out how to put it together. I was hooked from the very first note — which was not too pretty sounding.”

Lowe earned a Bachelor of Music in music education and Master of Music in bassoon performance from the University of Florida and a Doctor of Musical Arts in bassoon performance from State University of New York at Stony Brook. She was lead singer in a funk band, Das Funkhaus, during her graduate school days. She dabbles in piano and guitar and also plays the contrabassoon, which is twice the size of the bassoon.

Lowe will perform what she referred to as “a potpourri of musical selections mostly from the romantic period” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, in Whitehead Auditorium. The concert is open to the public and free of charge.

Dr. Mimi Noda, an assistant professor of piano at Albany State University, will assist Lowe on three of the four selections.

“Audience members,” Lowe explained, “can expect music that is very accessible and pleasing to listen to. Dr. Noda and I have truly enjoyed collaborating on these pieces, so I believe the audience will recognize that we are having a fantastic time on stage together.”

“The best part of performing is the opportunity to express myself through music,” she added. “I also love that I can expose the public to the beauty of an instrument that is not mainstream. The bassoon is oftentimes referred to as the ‘clown of the orchestra.’ Being able to take it out of its usual setting and place it in a solo recital setting really shows the audience that it should be not classified as the clown type.”

Lowe joined the VSU Department of Music faculty in 2009. She teaches music in film classes, freshman music theory labs, computers in music classes, and bassoon lessons to music majors and music minors, as well as non-majors interested in studying the instrument.

“I enjoy seeing students mature as musicians and love passing on the lineage of my training into their hands,” she said.

Lowe serves as the principal bassoonist of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and Albany Symphony Orchestra. She is one of the few bassoonists, if not the only one, to have performed Mozart’s “Bassoon Concerto” for the captain, crew, and passengers of a Southwestern Airlines flight from New York to Florida — at over 30,000 feet in the air.

Contact Dr. Shannon Lowe at (229) 333-5804 or srlowe@valdosta.edu to learn more.

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