Andrew Genemans - Contrabassoont/3rd Bassoon
Greetings! My name is Andrew Genemans, and I am the Contrabassoonist/3rd Bassoonist with your Grand Rapids Symphony. I am about to start my second full season with the orchestra, having joined in January of 2018. This city has been wonderful to me, and I am really fortunate to be able to call this place home!
I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, the son of two band directors. Both of my parents were very supportive of exploring any and all kinds of music, from movie soundtracks to rock and jazz to bagpipes (seriously). In the 7th grade, I stumbled upon my mother practicing the bassoon for a! orchestra pit rehearsal, and I promptly proclaimed: “That looks weird- I want to play that!”
I began my collegiate career at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music as a double major in Music Therapy and Music Performance. My heart was always in the performance aspect of my degree though, and I would eventually pursue orchestral performance exclusively, studying with the contrabassoonist of The Cleveland Orchestra, Jonathan Sherwin. You can see that my attraction to low frequencies began early on in my education!
After graduating from BW, I began my masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University with Pittsburgh Symphony principal bassoonist, Nancy Goeres. Needless to say, I have never worked so hard in my life, with the expectations in lessons and orchestra concerts being higher than ever. During this time, I also spent three years as a Contrabassoon Fellow for the Aspen Music Festival. The air was thin, my lungs hurt, but it was an incredible experience, performing with fellow musicians all across the country.
Around this time I began my freelancing career, as well as taking auditions on the bassoon and contrabassoon. My substitute gigs would range from working with local orchestras in Western Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio, to performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Living life on the road was difficult, but the experience of playing with some of the greatest orchestras in the country has made every inch worthwhile.
One of the hobbies that I have spent time cultivating since moving to Grand Rapids has been writing poetry. I have found a great community of supportive and creative individuals, especially at the poetry nights hosted by The Sparrows Cafe (they are the best!) It is an incredible catharsis for me, and someday I hope to publish a collection of my work!
I am so grateful to the amazing people in Grand Rapids for making me feel at home and enabling me to grow, both personally and creatively. As the years go on, I’m excited to continue building my life and exploring all that Michigan has to offer!
(Photo Credit: Paul Austin)