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Nicole Tait

Section Principal Bassoon
Chair sponsored in Memory of Margaret Mittelheuser AM

Whether it’s Bach, The Beatles or Beyoncé, it doesn't matter what your flavour is; music is important for liberating the soul and the mind. It moves us and motivates us. It can bring back a memory, a feeling or help us on a journey to discover something new about ourselves. Life without it would be empty and grey. To be able to play music for a living is a privilege.

I began my musical studies on piano at age 8 and started learning the bassoon in my first year of high school at 13 years of age. I went to a public high school that offered me a music scholarship. In applying for the scholarship I had to choose an instrument to learn, and not knowing which one I liked the best but loving bass instruments, I chose the bass, the cello and the bassoon. This was the beginning of a long relationship with the bassoon.

All of my teachers have been influential in their own way but Matthew Wilkie and his wife Noriko Shimada have been a guiding light for me. Matthew is the Principal Bassoonist of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO), and Noriko is the Contrabassoonist of the SSO and former Principal of Ensemble Modern. I was fortunate enough to study with Matthew in Frankfurt, Germany for a year during 1999-2000. This was a dream come true.

Before joining QSO in 2002, I freelanced extensively, playing with all the major orchestras in Australia and working overseas, performing and touring with Ensemble Modern, the Deutscher Kammer Philharmonie and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Some highlights of my career include touring with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in 2000, playing Rameau with Frans Bruggen conducting, and performing with the SSO in 2012.

I am passionate about chamber music and am a co-founder of Lunaire Collective, a resident ensemble at the Queensland Conservatorium – Griffith University, and a founding member of Brisbane based wind trio, Ensemble Trivium.

When not playing the bassoon or making reeds I enjoy spending time with my family, making Lego racing cars, secret-spy cubby houses, origami army tanks and listening to Roald Dahl audiobooks on repeat with my sons.

My favourite piece of music
I love Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. It's a masterpiece of incredible melodies and emotion. It's luscious and brilliant and gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. I've never played it but really hope one day I do. I also love Mozart operas and Stravinsky's ballets.