Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon and Daniel Pesca, piano


  • Henri Dutilleux (1913 - 2016) - Sarabande et cortége (1942) (8’)
  • Daniel Pesca (b.1985) - Enchanted (2023) (12’)
  • I. Back-and-Forth (Prelude)
  • II. Ringed in Light (Ripples)
  • III. Darting, Diving (Scherzo)
  • IV. In Wise Tones (Hymn)
  • Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964) - Bebop Riddle II (2022) (7’)
  • Ulysses Kay (1917 - 1995) - Sonata (1941) (5’)
  • Alexandre Tansman (1897 – 1986) - Suite for Bassoon and piano (1960) (7’)
  • I. Introduction and Allegro
  • II. Sarabande
  • III. Scherzo

Recently named one of 23 artists who are “changing the sound of classical music” by the Washington Post, bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward is the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He also serves as Principal Bassoonist of the Chicago Sinfonietta, Solo Bassoonist of Ensemble Dal Niente, and Contemporary Leader of the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. Ben’s dedication to working with and advocating for composers of his generation has led him to commission numerous works featuring the bassoon, and he has participated in the premieres of over 125 compositions to date. He has appeared as a soloist with the Seattle Symphony and the Northwestern and Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensembles, along with several regional orchestras throughout the US. Ben has performed as Guest Principal Bassoon with the Arctic Philharmonic (Bodø, Norway) and the Milwaukee Symphony, and has also played as a guest musician with the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the International Contemporary Ensemble, among others. He has presented masterclasses at Northwestern University and the Oberlin and Peabody Conservatories, and has appeared in the Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Lucerne, Donaueschingen, Spoleto, and Banff Festivals.

A 2018 Luminarts Fellow in Classical Music, Ben was one of five finalists for the International Double Reed Society’s 2020 Gillet-Fox Competition. His debut solo album, “Axis Mundi: New Works for Bassoon” was released on Sideband Records and was selected for the “Best Contemporary Classical on Bandcamp: November 2022” list. Ben earned his DMA from Northwestern University, where he studied with David McGill and researched methods of notating multiphonics. Previously, he studied with Ben Kamins at Rice University, George Sakakeeny at the Oberlin Conservatory, and Francine Peterson in the Seattle area.

Daniel Pesca has been hailed as “the perfect composer-virtuoso pianist” (All about the Arts) and “equally talented as pianist, composer and advocate of his peers’ works” (Fanfare). Daniel has participated in the premieres of more than 150 new works, many of which were composed for him. He has shared the stage with leading ensembles such as Ensemble Signal and Ensemble Dal Niente, performing at Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress, and new music festivals around the world. He is a founding member of the Grossman Ensemble and the Zohn Collective, and has performed as concerto soloist with the Orchestra of the League of Composers, Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and Slee Sinfonietta. His compositions have been sponsored by organizations such as National Endowment for the Arts and New Music USA.

Daniel appears on recordings from Urtext Classics, Centaur, Albany, New Focus, CCCC, Nimbus, Furious Artisans, Neuma, Sideband, and Oberlin Records. His solo album Promontory, released Fall 2021, includes world premieres of works by Augusta Read Thomas, Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, and Aaron Travers, plus his own compositions. Daniel served on the faculty at University of Maryland, Baltimore County from 2019-2023, and was previously artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago. Beginning in Fall 2023, Daniel is assistant professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

About the Dame Myra Hess Concerts

The concerts are generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and by individual donors.

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