Student Reflections: Bassoonist Georgeanne Banker

Monday, Jun 03, 2019
Georgeanne Banker
Juilliard Journal
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Georgeanne Banker, a first-year bassoonist, is playing the bassoon in a coaching, accompanied by a harpsichordist
Georgeanne at a Richard Egarr Historical Performance coaching

Reflections on a Year That Could Only Happen at Juilliard

Students wrote about the 2019-20 school year for this digital scrapbook featuring recaps of artistic, academic, and social highlights, top takeaways, surprises, summer plans, and more. Keep an eye out for entries from other students and check out a slideshow of photos from the season.

By Georgeanne Banker


• Out of many artistic highlights this year, our Juilliard415 performances with Rachel Podger [at Alice Tully Hall and in Ontario] stand out. This program presented me with some of the most difficult and gratifying orchestral repertoire written for my instrument, including Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1. Having written the program notes, I got to know the composers and delved into the context of each piece, informing and enhancing my performance.

• Paul O’Dette’s lectures about rhetoric and the art of persuasion in our Historical Performance Symposium inspired me to audit a speechwriting and rhetoric course through the Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard exchange, and it not only provided me with a practical foundation in rhetoric but also improved my approach to instrumental playing by reminding me to keep my message, delivery, and audience in mind as I make artistic decisions.

• I’m continuously enthralled by the intellect, creativity, leadership, and support of my colleagues in the Historical Performance program. The confidence and support of my friends has helped me work my way through the demands and challenges of our program, and I feel lucky to be a part of such an inspiring team of musicians.

Biggest surprise

I definitely surprised myself the most! Having been out of school for a few years prior to Juilliard, I struggled with self-doubt, wondering if I could jump back into a rigorous world of collegiate performance and academic practice. However, I found that Juilliard challenges me to be my best self: I’ve performed with some of the leading artists in my field, and each week the demands of my program have helped me not only become a stronger musician and team player, but also encouraged me to embrace concepts, ideas, and even instruments that push the boundaries of my knowledge and skills.

Top takewaway

This year has instilled in me a sense of gratitude, curiosity, and adventure! I’ve been so appreciative of the support from the Juilliard community, from Fredric Fehleisen’s guidance as I began new research projects to Benjamin Sosland’s assistance as I reworked my artist biography; from Jane Gottlieb and Alan Klein’s aid with obtaining a digitization of a 15th-century text from the British Library to Charlie Weaver’s help in deciphering its arcane contents; and Rachel Christensen’s invaluable marketing, management, and grant-writing guidance for One Found Sound, the nonprofit orchestra I co-founded in 2013.


The funding of the Historical Performance program made it possible for me to go back to school and has given me the opportunity to work alongside some of the top artists and creators in my field. It’s also connected me with a brilliant network of mentors, colleagues, and friends and let me impart the ideas and skills I’ve learned to my own networks and audiences.

First-year bassoonist Georgeanne Banker holds a Historical Performance Scholarship

The above is adapted from a special feature that originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of the Juilliard Journal.