Berkshire Maestros

Outstanding young Bassoon players

Bassoons are an endangered species. Acer Saccharum is an outstanding bassoon quartet making a stand for this hugely underrated instrument. The International Society for Music Education (ISME) conference in Beijing will give this Berkshire Maestros quartet the chance to sell the bassoon to music educators from all over the world via concerts and a workshop demonstration.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (284555)




  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



The ISME conference brings together people passionate about music education from all over the world to share ideas and inspire best practice. Acer Saccharum is an outstanding bassoon quartet with an international reputation. All the pupils are only 14 or 15 years old but have had outstanding success over the last few years. All have passed grade 8 with Distinction and two have diplomas. The quartet itself has sat a post-grade 8 recital exam and gained a Distinction in that as well. In 2008 these four players made up the entire bassoon section of the main National Children’s Orchestra; a feat never before achieved by one county or one teacher at national level and last summer they were singled out to give the opening recital of the junior day of the International Double Reed Society conference, which was held in the UK for the first time in 25 years. At the conference they will give three concerts, two to the delegates at the conference and one at a major public venue in Beijing to the local population. They will also be directly involved in a workshop seeking to demonstrate outstanding endangered species programmes in the UK. It will draw on the work of an endangered species double reed network launched in 2009 in the UK, which combines the skills and influence of key teachers, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Howarth of London, and the London Symphony Orchestra. The workshop will focus on the demonstration of specific teaching approaches and materials which have been highly successful in the Music Service in Berkshire in stimulating high quality bassoon playing as demonstrated by Acer Saccharum. This will hopefully inspire music educators from all over the world to set up their own endangered species development plans. The costs of flights, visas and accommodation for the trip comes to £6,800. On top of that we have to finance some extra meals, reeds, music and servicing of instruments. Making a grand total of nearly £9,000. We are desperately fundraising; putting on concerts, bag packing, making cakes, running raffles etc. But with only a quartet raising the money £9,000 is a huge mountain to climb. We need a large injection of funds to help us make a giant leap rather than baby steps towards our total. Playing a bassoon is an expensive business. A decent instrument is £10,000 and if you are as good as Acer Saccharum lessons and ensembles will cost you £4,000 a year minimum. Beijing is a wonderful opportunity to help the bassoon find centre stage, but it is very expensive for the families involved. We would love any help you can offer.