Adam MacKenzie

Photo of Adam MacKenzie

Professor of Bassoon

Adam is the Principal Bassoonist of Opera North, a position he has held since December 2017.

After leaving the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2004, Adam has studied in Milan (Accademia del Teatro alla Scala) with Valentino Zucchiatti and with Dag Jensen in Hanover before settling down to a 12-year freelance career.

In that time, whilst living in London, Adam worked with most UK orchestras and chamber orchestras but, remarkably, had very little to do with opera. He is making up for this oversight now.

Adam has been an active chamber musician. As a member of the New London Chamber Ensemble he played at the Wigmore Hall with pianist Angela Hewitt, performed Berio’s Opus Zoo choreographed and from memory, and recorded works by Lenox Berkeley (Naxos). As a member of Chamber Domaine, Adam has performed Rossini’s Giovanna d’Arco for an installation by Anish Kapoor, recorded Britten’s Sinfonietta and Bridge’s There is a Willow Aslant a Brook (Resonus)and given performances of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale to hundreds of children. Adam has also played this Faustian cabaret piece from memory whilst acting in a fully staged production at the Old Vic Theatre, London.

Adam is passionate about contemporary music and has a particular interest in the use of improvisation in composition. Adam was part of the team who created a modern perspective on Purcell’s King Arthur with Peter Weigold and Club Inegales in London’s Wilton’s Music Hall and in 2014 went on tour to India with the Britten Sinfonia and world leading sarod player Amjad Ali Khan.

Adam’s interest in the freedom improvisation brings has led him to take a serious involvement in music education. As Director of Education for English Sinfonia and Brandenburg Sinfonia Adam has devised and delivered composition projects up and down the country with seasoned professionals and non-musicians alike, narrated Peter and the Wolf many times with groups such as London Mozart Players and Sinfonia ViVA (of which he was a member for some years) and brought together over 800 children for a massed concert in Fairfield Hall. He currently teaches at Chetham’s School of Music.

Adam lives outside Leeds with his headteacher wife and two children. He likes running, hiking and avoiding Lego left on the floor.