Bassoonist Eric Van der Veer Varner has enjoyed a particularly rich and varied musical career. He was the principal bassoonist with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra from 2004 through 2015. He appeared as a soloist with the orchestra on numerous occasions, where his playing was critically hailed as that “of ineffable liquid beauty”. Previously, he held positions with the Ann Arbor Symphony, Michigan Opera Theater, and Sarasota Opera Orchestra. He performs in numerous summer festivals, including the Bellingham Festival of Music, the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival, and the Glickman-Popkin Bassoon Camp. Currently professor of bassoon and woodwind department chair at the Lynn Conservatory, Dr. Varner has previously held faculty appointments at Miami University (Ohio), Heidelberg University, and the University of Windsor. He also spent fourteen summers working at the Interlochen Arts Camp, where he was the Assistant Director of the High Schools Boys Division. Dr. Varner holds the Doctor of Musical Arts (2004) from the University of Michigan, where he also earned a Master of Music (2002) and a Bachelor of Music (1996) degree. He also holds a degree in Artistic Education (1998) from the Mannheim-Heidelberg Conservatory in Mannheim, Germany. His primary teachers were Richard Beene, Alfred Rinderspacher, Hugh Cooper and Michael Dicker. Dr. Varner is the owner of TrevCo-Varner Music, “the world’s foremost purveyor of fine sheet music for double reeds”. TrevCo-Varner Music is the largest company in the world dedicated solely to double reed music, with over 12,000 titles in stock from publishers all over the world.
The four bassoonists met at the Glickman-Popkin Bassoon Camp, where they came together to perform works written and arranged for bassoon ensemble. Their moniker was bestowed upon them by their students in residence at bassoon camp in the summer of 2018.