Lancashire-born bassoonist Laurence Perkins studied at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music with Charles Cracknell, the Hallé Orchestra’s distinguished principal bassoon during the Barbirolli years. The Manchester connection continued immediately afterwards when Laurence became principal bassoon of Manchester Camerata, a post he held for some 40 years before leaving in 2017 to pursue more chamber music and solo playing as well as a busy schedule of residential courses for amateur wind players in – among other places – Malvern and the Lake District (he is a keen hiker). He is a passionate believer in the value and life-enhancing potential of amateur music making. He is also a prolific recording artist for, among other labels, Hyperion, for whom he has recorded bassoon concertos by Mozart and Weber (with Douglas Boyd conducting the Manchester Camerata, using Laurence’s own edition of the Weber), Panufnik (with William Goodchild conducting the City of Birmingham SO) and Richard Strauss’s Duet-Concertino for clarinet, bassoon and orchestra (with clarinettist Sarah Watts and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conductor Sian Edwards). Infuriated by the ‘clown of the orchestra’ label that was so often attached to the bassoon, Laurence has made it his mission to change that perception by example, presenting an instrument capable of lyricism, drama, energetic virtuosity and deep sadness alongside the instrument’s established ‘brands’ of humour. Laurence is also a passionate promoter of bassoon rarities, many of which appear on his CDs with such intriguing titles as ‘Voyage of a Sea God’ and ‘The Honey Coloured Cow’ (the latter a jolly piece by Ruth Gipps).
Away from the bassoon, he indulges his passion for photography and historical recordings, from cylinders, through 78 rpm records to LPs – a fascination shared by his record producer, Andrew Keener, who interviews him during an evening which promises to be rich in humorous anecdote and insight.