The best and worst of double reeds with Ensemble Françaix

Two double reed players are brutally honest



In this short and sweet story, we catch up with a few members of Ensemble Françaix ahead of the group’s gig this week.


Ensemble Françaix features oboist Emmanuel Cassimatis, bassoonist Matthew Kneale, and Nicholas Young on piano. The three musos come together to perform the last of their ANAM fellowship Concerts on August 22 in Melbourne.

Nicholas’ vision for the ensemble is to encourage double reed players and composers to “explore the entire technical and artistic range of the double reed instruments, and to develop new unusual chamber repertoire that will excite new listeners while also providing fresh experiences for longtime lovers of classical music”.

“The oboe and bassoon are often associated with the orchestra. But when used to their full potential, both are also brilliant virtuoso instruments capable of shining for themselves in chamber music performance,” Nicholas says.

“When combined with the piano, a colourful alternative to the traditional string piano trio is formed, and if further instruments are added, the possibilities are endless.”


Ahead of the woodwind-fest of a gig, we find out what it’s really like to play a double reed instrument.

The most challenging parts of double reed life…


  • Making and fixing double reeds
  • Starting pitches with good and clean attacks
  • Sounding musically lyrical


  • Making sure I have an appropriate reed for any circumstance
  • Being mindful of air usage and efficiency
  • To always have good rhythm and intonation

The best-ever parts of double reed life…


  • Having the diversity of starting and creating sounds
  • Fantastic opportunity of playing a bass line with fantastic melodies in all genres of music
  • Being articulate in the way you play your instruments, which only happens with the double reed instruments


  • Responsibility of tuning an orchestra or chamber music group
  • Playing all the lovely and famous oboe solos in the orchestral repertoire

Catch these musos performing with other ANAM musicians on August 22 in the South Melbourne Town Hall. Works by Hakan Ulus and Katia Beaugeais will be premiered as commissions from Ensemble Françaix, and pieces by Louis Andriessen and Andre Previn will also be presented.


Images supplied.

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