Mr. James B. Kopp


Contact Information

[email protected]



Early Music Skills & Interests

Bassoon, Dulcian, Recorder

Early Music Affiliations

Editor, Instrument Maker/Repairer, Performer, Writer


James Kopp is a bassoonist, reed maker, and writer on musical topics.  He has performed with Concert Royal, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and Handel & Haydn Society, among many other period-instrument orchestras.  He is heard on the soundtrack of the Disney film Casanova and on several commercial sound recordings. He has also performed as a modern bassoonist or contrabassoonist with the New Jersey Symphony, Riverside Symphony, and Pavarotti in Concerto Orchestra, as well as many operatic and chamber ensembles in the New York area. 

 He is the author of The Bassoon, a history of the instrument, its repertory, its players, and its audiences, (Yale University Press, 2012). He was a senior editor of The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, second edition (Oxford University Press, 2014). His articles on the history and acoustics of woodwind instruments have appeared in the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, the Galpin Society Journal, The Double Reed, British Double Reed News, Rohrblatt, The Grove Dictionary of American Music, and MGG. He has spoken at conferences in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland.

The author of several articles on the acoustics of the bassoon and its reed, he is also a commercial reed maker, a teacher of reed-making techniques, and a frequent consultant to professional bassoonists. He has led workshops at The Juilliard School of Music, the Royal Academy of Music (London), and many universities in the United States.  He studied bassoon with Carl Nitchie, Jesse Read, and Dennis Godburn, and contrabassoon with Thomas Sefcovic.  He earned a B.A. in music from Duke University and a Ph.D. in music history and theory from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught music history and theory at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgia State University, and Mercer University.



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