Charles McCracken, Bassoon

Fast Facts

  • Former Principal Bassoon, American Symphony Orchestra, The New York Pops; Core member, American Modern Ensemble; Guest Principal Bassoon, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

  • Performances with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and virtually every other orchestra in the New York area.

  • Can be heard on over 60 film scores and countless commercial jingles.

Photo Credit: Ken Yanagisawa

Photo Credit: Ken Yanagisawa

Bassoonist Charles McCracken has been one of New York’s busiest freelancers for over 40 years. His career has encompassed every style of playing in every performance venue that the vibrant New York music scene has to offer. He was Principal Bassoon of the American Symphony Orchestra (Leon Botstein, conductor) for 29 years (and it’s contrabassoonist for 9 years prior to that), Principal Bassoon of the New York Pops (under Skitch Henderson and Steven Reinecke) for more than 20, and is Principal at the prestigious Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series, and also for the orchestras of the Oratorio Society of New York, Musica Sacra, Voices of Ascension and the National Chorale. Charles has also performed as Principal with the MET, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus, New York City Opera, Mostly Mozart, New Jersey Symphony, Stamford Symphony and has also been a regular guest performer with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Summers have found him playing Principal at Bard Summerscape and the Bard Music Festival, the OK Mozart International Festival and at venues as far-flung as Ravinia and the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. He was selected to join the All-Star Orchestra (Gerard Schwarz conductor), along with players from many of the country’s major orchestras for a series of tapings for PBS. Active in the commercial field, Mr. McCracken can be heard on over 70 film soundtracks and countless commercial jingles. An advocate for new music, Charles has premiered works by Mario Lavista, Seymour Barab, and Robert Paterson, and performed with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (Arthur Weisberg, conductor), the Group for Contemporary Music (Harvey Sollberger, director), Music Today (Gerard Schwarz, conductor), Musical Elements (Daniel Asia and Robert Beaser, directors), and is a member of the American Modern Ensemble (Robert Paterson, director). A scholarship student of Mark Popkin at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Mr. McCracken also studied privately with Arthur Weisberg.