- Music 8
- Music Literature
Professor David A. Wells
David A. Wells earned the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Marc Vallon; his dissertation is an expansive history and discography of the bassoon in jazz. He also holds degrees in bassoon performance from Arizona State University and Florida State University, where he studied with Jeffrey Lyman and Jeffrey Keesecker, respectively. In addition to his students at California State University, Sacramento, Dr. Wells maintains a private studio of bassoon and contrabassoon students. He has served as a clinician for high schools and honor bands in Wisconsin, Michigan, and California, as well as at the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil. He is also the co-host of the 2012 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition and Bassoon Symposium.
Dr. Wells is currently principal bassoonist with the Townsend Opera Players, has held positions in the Tallahassee and Mobile Symphony Orchestras, and has performed on bassoon and contrabassoon with other orchestras in California, Florida, Alabama, Iowa, and Wisconsin. His other performance activities have varied widely. His interest in period instruments has led to performances on shawms, recorders, baroque bassoon, baroque oboe, and original nineteenth-century bassoons by Savary, Heckel, and Buffet. He was a founding member of Downbeat Means Attack, a group with eclectic instrumentation (bassoon, cello, contrabass, two percussionists) devoted to playing both avant-garde music of the past and newly commissioned works. Dr. Wells also plays jazz on the bassoon, mainly in small combo settings such as the Modesto-based gypsy swing quintet Hot Club Faux Gitane.
In addition to his career as a bassoonist, Wells also devotes time to music scholarship. He earned an M.A. in Historical Musicology from UW-Madison while also serving as a Teaching Assistant in the program. He is a contributor to the forthcoming second edition of The Grove Dictionary of American Music, writing on a variety of American performers and composers. Wells is currently engaged in researching topics as disparate as the bassoonists who played the premiere of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, cross-gender casting in the operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau, the history of the bassoon in jazz, and German music and musicians in American orchestras during World War I.