Jane Gower

I was born in Melbourne, Australia, but never lived there, instead moving all around Australia and the United States with my parents; the typical Army Brat. In defiance of my parents who were brilliant sports people, I decided from an early age that I loved music; classical music, even worse. When I failed to win the audition for the school band flute at age 8 (meaning blowing out a noise, any noise, on the mouthpiece), I was heartbroken and inconsolable. For one day. My status as a spoiled only child meant that within 24 hours I had my own flute and could play a C major scale. With vibrato! Over the next years I played many different instruments in various school bands and orchestras before finally being offered the school's new bassoon. What on earth was that? I envisioned something like a tuba.

My first bassoon was a black plastic Fox. From the start I had no particular love for the instrument nor any affinity, but it was nice to escape the high pitched squawking of the flute and clarinet squads and play a unique instrument with a more soothing tenor/bass range. I was never going to be a musician but rather a veterinarian, and that's exactly what I aimed towards all through high school, studying all the sciences and maths like a maniac and making sure I got top grades. Music was always on the side being squashed in between my studies, my horses and my poultry.

Gradually though it became more and more important and by the time I was ready to start vet science at university it had taken over. I decided I needed to pursue music straight away - it couldn't be sidelined, unlike vet science, to which I could always return later if it turned out I'd made a mistake. Well maybe I did make a mistake! If so I compounded it by further specialising on the famously vexatious baroque bassoon, and all of the various species of historical bassoon. It's led to a life of constant challenges, of permanent itinerancy, of little money, and has kept me away from my home country and my family. But it's given me lots of other gifts, made me all kinds of friends, taken me to fascinating places and cultures, and very importantly led me to Concerto Copenhagen. The most exciting, friendly, dynamic, hilarious, well-functioning and altogether rewarding musical family that anyone could have.

Photo: Reinhard Wilting