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Gabriel Azzie, ON

Ottawa , Ontario , CANADA

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01. How old were you when you started playing your instrument?/ Quel âge aviez-vous quand vous avez commencé à jouer votre instrument ?

02. Why did you choose your instrument?/ Pourquoi avez-vous choisi cet instrument ?
My band teacher in grade 8 was a bassoonist herself, and she brought her bassoon in to show us a few times. I remember immediately falling in love with the nice, warm sound that came out of the instrument. Luckily for me, she informed me that she wanted a bassoon in her band, and asked me if I was interested. I did not hesitate to accept! Little did I know that playing the bassoon involved using my thumbs for 13 different keys and the challenges of reeds!

03. Describe some of your professional goals./Décrivez quelques-unes de vos ambitions professionnelles.
My dream is to have a career as an orchestral bassoonist. Keeping classical music alive in the music culture of today as well as engaging our youth in the magic of classical music is a passion of mine. To this end, I would also like to teach bassoon in University!

04. What are your other interests and/or hobbies?/ Quels sont vos autres intérêts ou passe-temps?
I am very much into sports. I played ice hockey for seven years and play soccer in the summer. I am also a huge Ottawa Senators fan. Skating on the canal and experiencing the art culture in Ottawa is also an interest of mine!

05. Do you write/arrange your own music?/ Êtes-vous compositeur ou arrangeur de votre propre musique ?
I have! I took a composition and orchestration class in my third year and I had a lot of fun!

06. Who is your favourite classical musician?/ Quel est votre artiste (musicien) préféré ?
There are too many great musicians out there to choose only one!

07. What is your favourite piece of music?/ Quel est votre morceau préféré ?
Mahler's Symphony No. 5, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, Stravinsky's Sacre du Printemps, and more!

08. What is your favourite concerto for your instrument?/ Quel est votre concerto préféré pour votre instrument?
It's hard to say, I really like the Weber concerto and I like many of the Vivaldi concerti as well!

09. For returning members: What is your fondest memory from a previous session and/or tour?/ Pour participants vétérans : Quels sont vos souvenirs préférés de la session ou tournée précédente de l’ONJC ?
It is difficult to pinpoint just one; some of my fondest memories include the first concert of the 2014 tour in Niagara. It was the first time our group played as the 2014 National Youth Orchestra of Canada. It was really rewarding to see the orchestra gel and it was an honour to play with such talented musicians. Another fantastic memory was the first concert of the 2015 tour in Stratford in collaboration with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. It was a tremendous experience playing with musicians from different countries and cultures. It was definitely a moment I will never forget and I hope to be able to do it again someday! I could never forget about the opportunity to play twice in my hometown with my family and friends in attendance, and I would be remiss if I did not include all of the mentoring and experiences that led to my personal growth and transformation as a musician. Being able to learn and work under the direction of the phenomenal maestros of Emmanuel Villaume and Michael Francis were life-changing experiences, and I look forward to another this summer under Maestro Ward Stare!

10. What made you decide to pursue classical music?/ Pourquoi avez-vous choisi une formation en musique classique ?
A seed was planted for me in middle school, where I was exposed to playing a variety of instruments, not only for the middle school band, but also for the high school band. That seed grew when my grade 8 music teacher introduced me to the bassoon. This is when my passion for classical music began. I auditioned to attend a high school for the performing arts and have been fortunate enough to train with some excellent musicians. I think the defining moment for me was when I was given the opportunity in grade 9 to tour backstage of the National Arts Centre before an orchestra concert. I met and spoke with some of the most talented and passionate musicians who I still admire today.

11. What do you think is the biggest challenge you face in your pursuit of a career in music?/ Quel est le plus grand obstacle à surmonter afin de poursuivre une carrière en musique ?
I feel the biggest challenge will be to win a professional audition. There will only be so many opportunities that will present themselves and there will be many people who will want the same position. Having the skill and mental toughness required to win a position is a huge challenge for all orchestral musicians.

12. Why did you choose to apply to NYO Canada?/ Pourquoi avez-vous choisi de poser votre candidature pour NYO Canada?
For the opportunity to tour Portugal with some of the best young musicians in Canada!

13. How do you feel you will benefit from participation in NYO Canada?/ Comment bénéficierez-vous de votre participation dans le programme de NYO Canada?
I feel I will benefit because I will have had the opportunity to tour Portugal and parts of Canada with such a high-calibre orchestra. The opportunity to collaborate, share and learn with other young, upcoming and talented musicians is paramount to my future as a classical musician and educator. Working with such an outstanding and eclectic faculty provides an enormous opportunity for me to improve my skill set and grow as a musician. As a returning member, I can honestly say that NYO Canada has given me the most rewarding and enlightening summers I have ever had.

14. Were you accepted to any other summer music programs this year?/ Avez-vous été accepté/e à tout autre programme musical estival cette année?
No, NYO Canada is a terrific program!

15. If you weren’t touring with the NYO Canada, what would you be doing during the summer?/ Si vous n’étiez pas en tournée avec NYO Canada, que feriez-vous cet été?
In addition to the norm of practicing and making reeds, I would be working, playing soccer, doing another summer program, and perhaps taking a trip somewhere.

16. What was the proudest moment of your music career thus far?/ Jusqu’ici, quel est le moment de votre carrière musicale qui vous a apporté le plus de fierté?
One of the proudest moments of my musical career so far was being invited to play with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to get a chance to play with the musicians that I have admired all my life and who have taught me so much. It is definitely an experience I will never forget!

17. What scholarships, if any, have you been awarded in the past year?/ Quelles bourses, le cas échéant, avez-vous remporté au cours de la dernière année?
I was awarded the Captain Paul L. Bender Scholarship at the University of Ottawa this past year.

18. What awards, if any, have you won in the past year?/ Quels prix, le cas échéant, avez-vous remporté au cours de la dernière année?
I have won numerous awards during my years as a musician, but none in the past year.