- Bachelor of Music, Eastman School of Music (1978)
George Sakakeeny has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, including engagements in Vienna at the historic Musikverein, with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, in Paris with members of the French National Orchestra, and on a nationally televised concert in Japan under the baton of Seiji Ozawa. Three major works for bassoon and orchestra have been written for him: Libby Larsen’s full moon in the city (2013), Peter Schickele’s Bassoon Concerto (1998), and Viennese composer Alexander Blechinger’s Faggottkonzert (
In 1993, Sakakeeny performed the world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis with Boston Musica Viva. As a soloist, he has recorded Blechinger’s Faggottkonzert with the Kiev Camerata for the Harmonia Classica label.
In addition to his position at the Oberlin Conservatory, Sakakeeny serves as visiting professor for graduate studies at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela, and guest professor at the Central Conservatory of Music of Beijing. He is also principal bassoonist of the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra each summer.
Sakakeeny formerly held principal bassoon positions of the New Japan Philharmonic, Handel & Haydn Society of Boston, Opera Company of Boston, Boston Musica Viva, Promusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, and CityMusic Cleveland. He has also served as principal bassoonist of the Grand Teton Music Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, and Peninsula Festival, and has performed extensively with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras.
Many of Sakakeeny's former students have gone on to hold positions in symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, and universities throughout North and South America and the Far East. He has been invited to teach master classes at three conferences of the International Double Reed Society and is regularly invited to serve as a jury member for national and international competitions. He also serves in an ongoing capacity as wind coach and bassoon teacher in the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra System, known as El Sistema. His contributions include teaching master classes to orchestra members, leading wind sectionals, and providing training to the bassoon teachers of El Sistema through his position as guest professor of the Latin American Bassoon Academy.
Sakakeeny has given numerous solo recitals and taught master classes at leading institutions such as the Paris Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Tchaikovsky National Music Academy in Kiev, Rice University, and the Tokyo University of the Fine Arts. He has served in longer-term teaching residencies at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Seoul National University, and the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse in Lyon, France.
He is the author of the e-book Making Reeds Start to Finish With George Sakakeeny.