Principal Bassoon, Norman B. Mears Chair
Xie joined the Minnesota Orchestra as principal bassoon at the beginning of the 2017-18 season after serving as principal bassoon of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra—an ensemble he first joined as second bassoonist in 2008. When he won the principal role in 2012, Xie became the first Chinese-born bassoonist to hold such a position in a major American symphony orchestra. He was previously a member of the Houston Grand Opera, principal bassoon of the Mansfield Symphony in Ohio, and has appeared as guest principal bassoon with orchestras such as Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Xie has appeared as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Festival Mozaic Orchestra and the Sichuan Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in China. He has received the high praise of critics from The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Star Tribune. Xie has performed at many summer festivals including Festival Mozaic—where he acts as principal bassoon—and those of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra and Music Academy of the West. In 2010, he was a finalist and prize-winner at the International Double Reed Society’s Gillet-Hugo Fox Competition, where he was the only American bassoonist chosen for the final round.
An avid educator, Xie has taught masterclasses at conservatories and festivals throughout the United States, China and Brazil. He served on the bassoon faculty of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States in 2022 and was the bassoon coach for three years with the National Youth Orchestra of China. While in Brazil, he served as a faculty member of the Campos do Jordão International Music Festival for two seasons; during that time, he performed Kalevi Aho’s Quintet for Bassoon and Strings with the award-winning Quarteto Radamés Gnattali. Back in the United States, he served on the faculty at the University of Maryland until recently, and is now adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota.
Xie’s recording credits include Gustav Mahler’s major symphonies—a multi-year project by the Minnesota Orchestra. His performance of the Mozart Bassoon Concerto with the Orchestra under then-Music Director Osmo Vänskä was streamed live online for thousands of listeners and is regularly re-broadcast on American Public Media’s Performance Today. In 2020, Xie recorded the Quintet for Bassoon and Strings by composer Michael Fine for Five for Five, a CD recording project of newly-composed chamber music for wind and string quartets.
Since 2021, Xie has taken on the role of artistic consultant for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Lunar New Year celebrations. Beyond introducing Orchestra audiences to Chinese musical traditions and instrumentation, the annual concerts have seen Xie joined onstage by his mother and father—the professional Peking Opera musicians Mei Hu and Zhengang Xie, who are yue qin and jing hu masters, respectively. Learn more about Xie’s parents and the origins of these Lunar New Year concerts.
Xie, who grew up in the city of Tangshan in the Hebei province of northern China, was introduced by his uncle—a composer himself—to the piano at age three, and later began bassoon studies when he was 13. He now holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a master’s degree from Rice University. His primary teachers and influences are George Sakakeeny and Benjamin Kamins, who served as associate principal bassoon of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1972 to 1981.