03 October 2011

The Proud Bassoon

Concert programme,
Melos Ensemble, 1966

The latest accession to the RNCM archives, the papers of Bill Waterhouse (1931-2007), arrived in early September.  Mary Ann Davison has written in an earlier post about his contribution to the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments at the RNCM. 

After studying at the Royal College of Music, his long career as a professional bassoonist began with the Covent Garden Opera orchestra in 1953.  He joined the Royal Manchester College of Music (one of the RNCM's predecessors) in 1966 as professor of bassoon.

His extensive collection of concert programmes gives us an insight into the range of musical performances that he gave and the repertoire that he played, from the mid 1940s into the early 2000s.  There are large numbers of programmes for the London Symphony Orchestra (from 1958), the BBC Symphony Orchestra (from 1964) and the Melos Ensemble (from 1959), including
Concert programme, BBC
Symphony Orchestra, 1972/73
performances and tours overseas. He also performed as a soloist and gave master classes, lecture-recitals and workshops in many different countries. 

Letters from his friends and fellow musicians include the Dutch pianist Caecilia Andriessen; Canadian bassoonist and founder of the International Double Reed Society Gerald Corey; American composer and violinist Stanley Weiner; and the Swiss conductor Francis Travis.

The material received so far is only part of a larger collection and a small reflection of the work of a fine bassoonist.  We are grateful to Elisabeth Waterhouse, Bill's wife, for her kind donation.

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