Freelance; Former Principal Bassoon – Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; Professor of Bassoon – Berne University of the Arts
Australian Hometown(s): Sydney & Melbourne
Education: University of Music and Performing Arts, Munich
Australian bassoonist Lyndon Watts’s playing has been described as possessing “an ideal balance between utmost precision and wild spontaneity” (Heinz Holliger). Lyndon became principal bassoonist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of twenty-two, working closely with chief conductors Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Christian Thielemann and James Levine, as well as principal guest conductor Zubin Mehta, and performing in all the major concert halls of the world. After holding this position for eighteen years, in 2016 Lyndon chose to move back to his home country Australia, where he is now based in Melbourne. In July 2018 he accepted the position of lecturer in bassoon at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), Melbourne University. Since the beginning of 2020 he has also been coordinating the MCM Early Music Studio.
Lyndon began learning bassoon when he was twelve. For five years he had lessons with John Cran, former principal bassoonist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and won numerous scholarships and prizes in Australia. For the final two years of high school he attended Newington College as a music scholar, after which he toured Europe as principal bassoonist of the Australian Youth Orchestra and then remained in Germany to study with Professor Eberhard Marschall in Munich, followed by studies on historical bassoon with Alberto Grazzi in Verona. In 2002 he became the first Australian woodwind player to ever win a prize in the fifty year history of the prestigious ARD International Music Competition.
From 2005 to 2015 Lyndon was professor of bassoon in Switzerland at the Berne University of the Arts, where he also specialized in tutoring chamber music and contemporary music. Former students from Munich and Berne, as well as academists from the Munich Philharmonic who were mentored by Lyndon, now hold positions in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna Symphony, Berne Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Graz Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and others.
Throughout his career Lyndon has performed either as a soloist or guest principal with numerous German and Australian orchestras (Australian World Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Bavarian State Opera, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, West German Radio Symphony Orchestra etc.), and on historical bassoon in many leading period instrument ensembles.
Until 2016 Lyndon also taught historical bassoon at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts. In 2012 he obtained a grant in collaboration with musicologist Dr Sebastian Werr and Swiss instrument maker Walter Bassetto from the Swiss National Science Foundation to fund a research programme through the Berne University of the Arts involving the first ever reconstruction of a classical bassoon after the Parisian maker Jean-Nicolas Savary jeune, known as the “Stradivari of the bassoon”. A CD with world première recordings of compositions for the Savary bassoon was released in 2014, and a book containing contributions from leading international experts in the field of reconstructing historical woodwind instruments was published in 2017.
Lyndon is also an active supporter of contemporary composers and has given many first performances of solo and chamber music works in collaboration with composers from Munich and Melbourne.
Last updated 2021