Praised for her diverse talents, bassoonist Dana Jessen is in high demand as a soloist, chamber musician, improviser and new music specialist. Dana is the co-founder of Splinter Reeds, a San Francisco-based reed quintet, and has performed with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Dal Niente, Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, S.E.M. Ensemble, Calefax Quintet, Rushes Ensemble, Pamela Z, Lucky Dragons, and the Amsterdam Contemporary Ensemble, among others. Her strong ambitions to explore free jazz and creative improvisation have led to performances throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States with such improvisers as Wilbert de Joode, Frank Gratkowski, Michael Vatcher, Joe Morris, Taylor Ho Bynum, Michael Moore, Mary Halvorson, Ab Baars, Anne La Berge, Erica Dicker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mike Reed and many others.
Dana’s tireless commitment to expand the modern bassoon repertoire through collaborations with composers from around the globe has led to dozens of new solo, chamber, and electroacoustic works. In 2009, Dana led a consortium commissioning project to support the creation of Rushes, an hour-long composition for seven bassoons by composer and Bang On a Can co-founder, Michael Gordon. Rushes has been described as an evening length tour-de-force and hailed as “fascinating…Gordon’s simple transformations achieve, in all their simplicity, a great expressiveness” (NRC-Dutch National Newspaper).