John Steinmetz teaches bassoon and chamber music at UCLA. As a Los Angels freelance bassoonist, he played everything from Tristan und Isolde to Jurassic Park, from Beethoven symphonies to Family Guy, from Bach’s B-Minor Mass to Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. He played with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Oregon Bach Festival, Camerata Pacifica, XTET, and festivals including Moab, Skaneateles, Las Vegas, the Colorado Music Festival, and Chamber Music Northwest. He toured with LA Chamber Orchestra, Mladi Wind Quintet, Camerata Pacifica, and the Bill Douglas Trio. He recorded soundtracks for Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, John Williams, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman, Michael Giacchino, Shirley Walker, and many others. He made classical recordings with the Oregon Bach Festival, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Winds, and LA Philharmonic, and with XTET he recorded Donald Crockett’s Extant for bassoon and chamber ensemble. He premiered works by Arvo Pärt, Don Davis, Arthur Jarvinen, Billy Childs, Kryzstof Penderecki, and other composers, and he premiered his own bassoon concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony. In 2016 he retired from playing to focus on composing and teaching.
Compositions by John Steinmetz have been released on more than a dozen CDs from different performers and ensembles, including Mill Ave Chamber Players’ album What the Birds Said, devoted to his music. His Sonata and Quintet, recorded multiple times, have entered the repertoire for professionals, amateurs, and students. Recent commissions include A Great Treasure for clarinet, violin, and narrator; Sorrow and Celebration for reed quintet and audience; and What’s Going On, commissioned by thirty-three wind quintets and individuals from across the country. Some of his pieces have a part for the audience; others feature young players or singers collaborating with professionals. His comic pieces include What’s Your Musical I.Q.? (A Quiz) and The Monster that Devoured Cleveland.
John Steinmetz taught bassoon at the University of Redlands, Pomona College, UC Santa Barbara, and as a guest teacher at USC and Calarts, before teaching at UCLA. His former UCLA bassoon students now work in performance, college teaching, private instruction, orchestra administration, software design, yoga instruction, and other professions. He has been a frequent guest coach at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and has given master classes and workshops at colleges and conferences. He gave keynote speeches at the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy and at the annual conference of Americans for the Arts. He has led workshops in speaking from the stage for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and for competitors in the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition. A consultant to Naxos Records and to researchers at Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, and Disney Imagineering, he collaborated on research into technologies of learning and expression, co-wrote a booklet about transfer of learning, edited a collection of musical activities for children, and contributed a chapter on education to a book about a new programming language. His essay Resuscitating Art Music was widely reprinted and discussed in classical music circles; Naxos Records distributes his booklet “How to Enjoy a Live Concert.” His articles and book reviews have appeared in Chamber Music, Symphony, and other publications; some are available at johnsteinmetz.org. He has been a board member of Chamber Music America, Monday Evening Concerts, Pasadena Waldorf School, and Renaissance Arts Academy.