Frank Morelli

Biography by

Frank Morelli is probably the best-known American bassoon player of his generation. Arguably, he is the busiest, as well, serving as principal bassoonist in four major orchestras: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra,…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Frank Morelli is probably the best-known American bassoon player of his generation. Arguably, he is the busiest, as well, serving as principal bassoonist in four major orchestras: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York City Opera Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra. He is also a member of the acclaimed chamber ensemble Windscape. As if this weren't enough, Morelli is on the faculties at Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Yale, and SUNY Stony Brook, and has served as editor of the Boosey & Hawkes publication Stravinsky: Difficult Passages (2010; paperback). Morelli has appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall numerous times, the White House, and at other major venues throughout the U.S. and abroad. He has many other distinctions, too, including being the first bassoonist to earn a doctorate degree from Juilliard. Morelli has also made arrangements for bassoon (with other instruments) in editions available from TrevCo. Morelli's repertory is broad, taking in works by Mozart, Dvorák, Villa-Lobos, Stravinsky, Bartók, Elliott Carter, and many others. Not surprisingly, Morelli has made numerous recordings as soloist, chamber player, and orchestral player, most of them available on DG, Delos, Naxos, New World Records, Telarc, and Vox. The MSR Classics label has issued many of his solo efforts.

Frank Morelli was born in Massapequa, Long Island, NY, on March 31, 1951. He studied music at the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. Among his teachers was Stephen Maxym.

In 1973 Morelli gave two important debut concerts: at Town Hall in New York City in November he played the Leland Smith Machine of Loving Grace and at Carnegie Hall in December he performed the Mozart Bassoon Concerto, K. 191, with the National Orchestral Association under Leon Barzin, both performances drawing lavish praise from New York Times critics. Over the coming decades he would appear at Carnegie Hall eight more times and often perform at events of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

From 1989 Morelli has been busy teaching, eventually amassing four posts, all of which he still holds: Manhattan School of Music (since 1989), Juilliard (since 1992), Yale (1994), and SUNY Stony Brook. Throughout these years he has also remained active as a soloist, as well as in the several orchestras mentioned and in Windscape. Among Morelli's later recordings is the 2005 CD Bassoon Brasileiro, featuring works by Villa-Lobos and Francisco Mignone, on the MSR Classics label.