Barenboim summons Chicago vet to save his West-East orch

Barenboim summons Chicago vet to save his West-East orch


norman lebrecht

July 20, 2016

Crisis in the Middle East.

The principal bassoonist in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has broken her finger hours before a major international tour.

The orchestra is heading for a weeklong Buenos Aires residency with Martha Argerich as soloist, followed by visits to limelight festivals at Salzburg, Berlin, Lucerne and London(BBC Proms).

Without a bassoon.

Brains were racked, databases raided. Barenboim knew who he wanted.

David McGill, former principal bassoon at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, now professor at Northwestern U.

It so happened that David was home – just home, in fact. He had been playing the Mozart bassoon concerto with Riccardo Muti and his Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini in Italy.

As we write this, David is repacking his bags.

Then he will work on his reeds, ‘raising my pitch up to about A-444. Not easy for a 440 American player!’

And off to the airport.

David adds: ‘I have often said that I would do this only for two people in the world, Muti and Barenboim. And they both requested me this summer!’


david mcgill


  • mario lutz says:

    Maestro Mc Gill you will be warmly welcome in Buenos Aires!!

  • Gerhard says:

    I’m surprised to learn that the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra supposedly has a pitch of A=444 Hz. Most Orchestras I know in Germany tune to A=443 Hz, while a few play at A=442 Hz. Haven’t heard of anyone aiming intentionally for a pitch above A=443 Hz in the last few decades, but perhaps Mr.McGill is just preparing for all eventualities.

  • Nadina Mackie Jackson says:

    So nice for David to reconnect with new and old orchestra friends! And what is the name of the bassoonist he is replacing?

    • Inside Man says:

      Her name is Zeynep Köylüoglu. A splendid Turkish bassoonist who is assistent principle bassoon at German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Una says:

    From Bruce Duffie in Chicago

    “I knew David McGill just a bit. He gave me a couple of his CDs to use on the air, and we greeted each other a few times backstage. Never interviewed him, though… nice fellow and great player. We got him from Cleveland Orchestra years ago”.