January 30, 2023

Meet Jensen Bocco (MM ’23), a featured soloist in the MSM Orchestral Performance Program concert on February 1

Jensen Bocco (MM’ 23) is a master’s student in the Orchestral Performance Program (OP) at MSM studying at with William Short of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, and he’s a featured soloist in the OP Faculty–Student Concert  on February 1 at 7:30 PM in Neidorff-Karpati Hall.

Jensen tells about the concert, and about studying at MSM.


Originally from central Florida, Jensen began playing the bassoon at the age of 10. He attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and received his Bachelor’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music studying with Richard Ranti of the Boston Symphony. Jensen has also been a fellow with the Aspen Music Festival.

Jensen recently joined the Hartford Symphony Orchestra as their assistant principal bassoon for the 2022–2023 season, and has been splitting his time between performing with the orchestra and his studies at MSM.

Why should people come and see this concert? What makes this performance special?

Jensen:  This is a unique concert that is being put on by the Orchestral Performance Program. Scheherazade on its own is one of those pieces that can really take the audience for a journey. Along with that, there aren’t many programs that allow students the opportunity to play next to the faculty. It’s inspiring to see the collaboration of efforts from the faculty and students playing side by side with each other.

How has MSM’s OP program prepared you for post graduate life?

Jensen: Something that is extremely valuable about the OP Program is the focus on audition preparation. The best way to get better at an audition is to do more of them, so our mock auditions have really helped make me more comfortable in the audition room. The program has also been helpful in giving me the flexibility I need to travel and take auditions.

You have a solo in the Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade, how have you been preparing for this?

Jensen: A solo like Scheherazade is an extremely personal thing and no two bassoonists play it the same way. Having your own interpretation that you believe in is the biggest hurdle. That being said, I’ve found the best way for me to prepare for a piece like Scheherazade is to listen to plenty of recordings to draw inspiration from. Other than that, I’ve been making as many reeds as humanly possible so that way I can pick the reed that plays the “least worst”!

Watch vide preview of the concert on February 1

Why did you choose to study bassoon at MSM?

Jensen: My choice to study at MSM was made by my interest in both the Orchestral Performance Program and the faculty. As a musician who’s currently on the audition circuit, the OP Program was really enticing because it gives me the tools I need to prepare for these auditions. Along with that, I’ve seen a lot of positive change in both my personal playing and my mentality towards the bassoon by studying with my teacher William Short of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.

“Something that is extremely valuable about the OP program is the focus on audition preparation. The best way to get better at an audition is to do more of them so our mock auditions have really helped make me more comfortable in the audition room.”

Auditions are coming up, what advice do you have for anyone auditioning for the bassoon at MSM?

Jensen: The best piece of advice I can give to anyone auditioning is the same advice that was given to me: “The panel wants to hear you succeed”. In the midst of the audition season it’s easy to be stressed, but this one piece of advice has helped me corral some of this anxiety in my own auditions. All of the bassoon faculty at MSM are extremely kind and are rooting for you!

What are you excited about this year?

Jensen: This upcoming OP concert and our concert later in the semester that consists of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds are notable highlights in my mind. This will be my first time playing Scheherazade so I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to play it. The Concerto for Seven Winds is also a great lesser known piece that will highlight some of our great wind and percussion players.

Jensen Bocco (MM '23) in center at a recent MSM concert

Read an interview with  JT Kane, MSM Dean of Instrumental Studies and Orchestral Performance (OP), who talks about the Feb 1 concert:

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