Splinter Reeds is the Bay Area's first reed quintet, comprising five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top tier performances of today's best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet, commissioning new works, and collaborating with fellow musicians and artists. Distinguishing itself even within the small network of roughly 20 professional reed quintets worldwide, Splinter Reeds is explicitly committed to the cutting edge of contemporary composition, freely juxtaposing elements of multiple styles and aesthetics in their programming in order to enthusiastically share adventurous new music with the widest possible audience. The group formed in 2013 with the coming together of five colleagues highly active in multiple facets of the Bay Area's vibrant music scene: Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Bill Kalinkos (clarinet), David Wegehaupt (saxophone), Jeff Anderle (bass clarinet), and Dana Jessen (bassoon).
Carve is Dana Jessen's solo program of music for bassoon and electronics, as well as the title of her debut solo album that blurs the lines between composition, interpretation, and improvisation. The program currently includes acoustic improvisations that are featured alongside new works by composers Paula Matthusen, Peter V. Swendsen, Sam Pluta, and Kyle Bruckmann. The program is regularly expanding and the most recent addition is a new work by composer George Lewis called Seismologic for bassoon and four-channel sound. Her solo work has been presented at Amsterdam's Splendor, Studio LOOS in the Hague, the American Academy in Rome, Stanford's CCRMA, the Innova Festival in Minneapolis, the SPLICE Institute, Oberlin Conservatory's Stull Recital Hall and Fairchild Chapel, NYC's Avant Music Festival, SONiC Festival, and Bohemian National Hall, the Third Practice Festival of Electroacoustic Music, Wet Ink Presents series, Kent State University’s Vanguard New Music Series, and Chicago's Constellation, among others.
Rushes is a 55-minute tour-de-force by composer Michael Gordon for seven bassoons. The piece was commissioned in 2009 through the New Music Bassoon Fund, spearheaded by Dana Jessen. The Rushes Ensemble has established itself as the premier interpreter of the piece and is made up of seven leading contemporary bassoonists in the United States: Jeffrey Lyman, Saxton Rose, Lynn Hileman, Michael Harley, Rachael Elliott, Dana Jessen, and Maya Stone. The ensemble's recording of the work was released in 2014 on Cantaloupe Records and the group has performed Rushes at such venues as Park Avenue Armory (NYC), Duke Performances (Durham, NC), November Music Festival (Netherlands), and EMPAC (Troy, NY), among several others.