Associate Principal Bassoon Luis Eisen

When did you join the RSNO?
I joined the RSNO in May 2018.

Where are you from?
I am from a small town called Illingen, close to Stuttgart in South Germany. I’m the first bassoonist from a long line of pig farmers.

Where did you study?
I studied at the School for Music and Performing Arts in Mannheim, Germany with Prof. Alfred Rinderspacher and later with Prof. Ole Kristian Dahl. The city was so boring that you couldn’t do much more than lock yourself in an empty room and practice the bassoon.

What do you enjoy most about being in the RSNO?
I know it sounds like a cliché and everybody probably writes the same thing, but apart from the musical quality and the excitement of being part of such a great band I genuinely feel like the orchestra is a second family. And, of course, Nigel’s tea bar.

Tell us your favourite RSNO story/memory so far.
Celebrating Hogmanay with a piper and Kylie dancing on tour in China. Slightly bizarre for my Teutonic mind but incredibly fun.

Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere (literally!) in China where roads become dirt tracks on the way to a concert. At a certain point we thought we’ll never make it because it really didn’t look like a road anymore and we could not reverse backwards. Also the road was so bad that we felt slightly seasick. After only nine hours on the road we just made it for the concert and played a great show.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not playing with the Orchestra?
I love teaching my two-year old daughter Mira how to make bassoon reeds and spend time with the best of all wives. Apart from that, I love baking bread and get quite obsessive about it. I have a walk-in cupboard full of flour and a temperature-controlled proofing box, do I need to say more? I did Thai boxing for a couple of years and would love to take it up again.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I am very good at making compost and can jump really high. Also I am great at moving house!

If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be, and why?
King Kong. I’d like to ask him how to climb skyscrapers, but I worry a bit about his table manners.

You’re stranded on a desert island. You’re allowed 3 CDs and 1 book. What would they be, and why?
Uh, that is a tough one. First of all I´d prefer to take a record player and vinyls. And a Gramophone.  Then probably, I’d take King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King. Incredible music and good memories. Johnny Cash American Recordings and… actually… Could I trade the third one for a bottle of whisky please?

And for the book? Maybe Salman Rushdie Satanic Verses. A good book to get lost in. Or a telephone book.