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Richard Svoboda

Principal Bassoon, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Edward A. Taft chair, endowed in perpetuity

Richard Svoboda headshot with bassoon


Richard Svoboda has been principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players since 1989; as the BSO’s principal bassoon he occupies the Edward A. Taft Chair. An active chamber music collaborator, orchestral soloist, and recitalist, he is currently on the faculties of New England Conservatory, Tanglewood Music Center, and Sarasota Music Festival, and has given master classes throughout the world. Prior to his BSO appointment he was principal bassoon of the Jacksonville Symphony for 10 seasons. Svoboda’s solo appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra have included John Williams’s Concerto for Basson, The Five Sacred Trees, with the composer conducting, and Weber’s Concerto for Bassoon under Seiji Ozawa. He made his first solo appearance with the BSO in April 1991 in Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major. Other solo performances have included playing the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s BSO-commissioned Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in 2013 with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting; appearing with the orchestra on two occasions in Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa and Charles Dutoit; and making a solo appearance with the BSO in September 2014 with Marcelo Lehninger conducting Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn in E-flat major. Svoboda premiered Michael Gandolfi’s Concerto for Bassoon in 2007, and in 2011 premiered Gandolfi’s Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon alongside his daughter, clarinetist Erin Svoboda — on both occasions he also collaborated with Yoichi Udagawa and the Melrose Symphony Orchestra. Svoboda has more than 30 recordings to his credit with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Chamber Players, as well as the soundtracks to “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.” His recordings include Gandolfi’s Concerto for Bassoon with Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; a solo album called Le Phénix, 18th-Century French Music for Bassoon, which includes the music of Boismortier, Corrette, and Devienne; and a CD of early 20th-century European music. Svoboda is married and the proud father of four daughters. He and his family reside in Melrose.

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