Recent Kenmore East grad AJ Neubert picked up the bassoon in the fourth grade.
“I decided I wanted to play the biggest, weirdest thing I could find in the band room, so I picked up the bassoon,” Neubert, who graduated in June, said. “It was taller than me for a while.”
Neubert is no longer smaller than his instrument- and his musical skill is taking him places.
This July, he performed as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at North Park Academy as part of their “Summer at the BPO” series.
“It was fantastic- it was quite an experience,” Neubert said.
Neubert is a recipient of the Friends of the BPO Young Musicians’ Scholarship.
He has performed with the BPO five times total- also playing in side-by-side performances with the BPO as a member of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra.
His band, Drak, also took first place in this year’s Music is Art “Battle of the High School Bands” competition.
“It was a great experience,” Neubert said. “I didn’t know if anyone would be open to me jamming on the bassoon with a blues band, but it was very interesting and really fun.”
During high school, he was accepted into the National Association for Music Educators (NAFME) All-Eastern ensemble and traveled to Pittsburgh to perform.
Music director Joann Falletta described Neubert as one of the best young bassoon players “not only in New York State, but across the entire Northeastern U.S.”.
“The BPO musicians and I are thrilled that AJ was the recipient of this year’s Friends of the BPO Young Musicians’ Scholarship, and that he had the opportunity this summer to perform his solo with us on stage,” Falletta said in a quote.
Neubert will continue his bassoon studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio this fall, and says he aspires to someday take a job at an orchestra like the BPO.
For other students hoping to study music, Neubert says to not get discouraged.
“Everyone talks about how competitive the music world is, but there are so many opportunities to play and do something with music, whether it’s teaching, film scores, anything else,” Neubert said.
He also offers his thanks to his teachers in the Ken-Ton District, and to all of his private teachers.