Carolyn Beck

Artist Teacher, Bassoon
Conservatory of Music

Carolyn Beck


Fine Arts


B.A., California State University, Northridge
M.M., Yale School of Music
D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music

Areas of Expertise

  • Orchestra Performance: bassoon and contrabassoon 
  • Bassoon solo literature 
  • Chamber music literature and performance for winds 
  • New music for bassoon, new music techniques 
  • Baroque bassoon
  • Baroque and classical performance practice


Described as “a fearless player… as well as a musician with a keen sense of phrasing and color” (Gramophone), bassoonist Carolyn Beck is the Principal Bassoonist with the Redlands and San Bernardino Symphonies, and performs with other orchestras, chamber groups, and period instrument groups in the Los Angeles area. She recorded Christopher James' Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra with North/South Consonance. This performance is available on the CD “Brightness Aloft” on the N/S label. Her solo CD "Beck and Call" is available on Crystal Records. A champion of new music, Beck has commissioned and performed new solo and chamber works for bassoon in the United States, Canada, and Spain. Recent solo performances include the Mozart concerto with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra in 2017, the Joan Tower bassoon concerto with the Pomona College Orchestra in 2014, the premiere of the Christopher James’ Bassoon Concerto in New York City in 2012 with North South Consonance, and appearances at several International Double Reed Society conferences. She was formerly the Principal Bassoonist of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain.

Dr. Beck is a devoted teacher, and some of her former bassoon students have gone on to major music schools including Curtis, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman, Royal College of Music in London, Mannes, and the San Francisco Conservatory. Some have won full or part time orchestra positions and others have become music educators or excelled in other fields. She teaches bassoon at the University of Redlands, Pomona College, and the Idyllwild Arts Academy. She was the bassoon co-host of the 2013 International Double Reed Society Conference held on the University of Redlands campus. Her major bassoon teachers included her mentor Don Christlieb as well as Alan Goodman, Arthur Weisberg, Stephen Maxym, and John Miller. When not playing, teaching, or listening to music, she enjoys swimming, practicing yoga, reading, and hanging out with her husband, trumpet player Bill Peterson.

Courses Taught at Redlands

Applied Bassoon
Bassoon Reed Making
Wind Chamber Music

Recordings and Publications

  • Solo recording of Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra by Christopher James, available on N/S Recordings, 
  • "Beck and Call" solo CD assisted by piano, viola, Crystal Records (published 2005) 
  • Music of Alex Shapiro: "Notes from the Kelp, Innova" CD 
  • Pete Christlieb: "For Heaven’s Sake" CD 
  • Recordings with Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias, Spain 
  • Recordings with North-South Consonance : the receding mist..., Vocal and Instrumental Music from the Americas; Music of Latin American Composers, Opus One label 
  • Co-editor of "Recollections of a First Chair Bassoonist; 52 Years in the Hollywood Studio" Orchestras by Don Christlieb, 1996