Guns Up and Bassoons Up!

Jan 29, 2019

Dean Noel Zahler, Dean of J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the new Director of the School of Music, Kim Walker, visit with Clint Barrick on this episode of The Front Row.

Dean Zahler, what's going on with the construction of the new building?

It has been a very exciting couple of years and the excitement seems to continue, which were very grateful for. The construction that you speak of is the new theatre and dance complex, which is being built adjacent to the theatre on 18th street. It's a 74,500 square foot addition to the building, which now will house all the faculty offices, the director's seat, a new blackbox theatre, three rehearsal rooms of various sizes--which are also performance spaces. The atrium is also a performance space. Classrooms, laboratories and everything that you could possibly think of that a first-class school of theatre and dance really needs...

Kim Walker, tell us a little about you and your background.

Well I'm actually just a wayward bassoonist, what can I say? Age 14, I went to an arts academy. At about 16 I went to the Curtis Institute and then I headed over to Europe and spent 18 years there. I was supposed to be there for two years but I like skiing a lot. I also enjoyed an unusual career. I was invited to the London Symphony when they didn't have women there. My teacher said, well one thing you can be sure of is you'll never work in the London Symphony. Anyway, I showed up the next day and was offered a year's contract...

I've learned that even with the students here at Texas Tech, they never know what's about to happen to them. We have to remember that in the arts. So, they didn't have a ladies toilet back stage, but I was still included for a good year of concerts there. From there I branched out and spent ten years as a bassoon soloist. That's one of the most useless objects on the planet--being a bassoon soloist. However, there are a good 40 or 50 concertos by great composers and I spent a decade working with innovative composers to create more concertos and solo works. That became a new education for myself--how to play well every time in a different context rather than being in the same orchestra for a lifetime.

Listen to the full interview at the top of the article.