Two-year fellowship is intended to support greater diversity in the orchestral field by providing mentorship, coaching and experience at a professional level
Bassoonist Kai Rocke will begin work with the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2019
Bassoonist Kai Rocke has won a position as the Minnesota Orchestra’s fourth Rosemary and David Good Fellow and will begin his two-year appointment with the Orchestra in September 2019. The fellowship, founded in 2017, is designed to encourage greater diversity in the orchestral field by supporting the career development of outstanding young musicians of African American, Latin American and Native American descent as they embark on professional orchestral careers.
Over the course of the fellowship, Rocke will both observe and participate in Minnesota Orchestra rehearsals; perform within the Orchestra at selected concerts; study with Orchestra musicians; and train and prepare for auditions. Rosemary and David Good Fellows receive mentoring from Minnesota Orchestra musicians and provide mentorship in return, as they work with Minnesota students on a variety of initiatives through the Orchestra’s Education and Community Engagement department.
“Kai is a great bassoonist, and he has a strong community engagement background,” said Principal Bassoon Fei Xie, who was a member of the audition committee. “We are very excited to welcome him to Minnesota and have him join us for the next two years.”
The Rosemary and David Good Fellowship initiative grew from the Orchestra’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which comprises board, staff and musicians. The first fellowship positions were awarded in 2017 to tuba player Jason Tanksley, who completes his fellowship at the end of the 2018-19 season, and trombone player Myles Blakemore, who is now a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Band. Flute player Emilio Rutllant, selected in 2018, is currently in the first year of his fellowship with the Orchestra and will continue through the 2019-20 season. Rocke won the position following a competitive audition before a committee comprising musicians, staff and Music Director Osmo Vänskä.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to work with the Minnesota Orchestra as a part of the Rosemary and David Good Fellowship program,” said Rocke. “I can’t wait to get started!”
Kai Rocke, bassoon
An aspiring orchestral performer, teacher and chamber musician, bassoonist Kai Rocke has performed in the New Bedford Symphony, the Atlantic Symphony, Haffner Sinfonietta, the Shreveport Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Amici Wind Quintet in numerous concert halls including Boston’s Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall and the Rudolfinum in Prague. He received his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory in 2017 studying with Gregg Henegar of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is currently finishing his master’s degree at Rice University with Benjamin Kamins, renowned bassoonist, pedagogue and former member of the Minnesota Orchestra. Rocke has attended festivals such as The Music Academy of the West and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute, and he was previously a fellow in the National Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Fellowship Program. His other instructors have included Sue Heineman, Lewis Lipnick and David Brundage. Rocke began his musical endeavors at age 10, playing saxophone in his elementary school band, and then learned to play the clarinet and the bassoon in middle school. His interest in bassoon grew and he decided to pursue music as a career. In his spare time Rocke enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading books and playing chamber music.
The Good Fellowship program is supported by a generous gift from Rosemary and David Good.