Arlen Fast joined the Philharmonic in 1996 as Bassoonist and Contrabassoonist after serving 17 seasons as second bassoonist for the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera. Mr. Fast earned his music degree at Wichita State University in Kansas, where he was second bassoonist of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. While on the West Coast, he studied with Norman Herzberg, who himself had studied with the New York Philharmonic’s former second bassoonist, Simon Kovar. Mr. Fast has performed on tours with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic. Active in chamber music as well as teaching, Mr. Fast has appeared with the New York Philharmonic's Ensembles at Merkin Concert Hall, the Orchestra's collaboration with the 92nd Street Y Chamber series, the Making Music series at Weill Recital Hall, Music from Copland House, Sunriver Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, and the Summerfest Chamber Music Festival in La Jolla, California. He has given numerous master classes and lectures, including at Juilliard and U.C.L.A., and was twice the featured guest artist at the Contrabassoon Festival in Park City, Utah. A pioneer in instrument design, Mr. Fast has invented a new system of register keys for the contrabassoon, the most significant design change for this instrument since the 1870s. This new system greatly improves the performance and significantly extends the practical range of the instrument. His collaboration wtih the Fox Bassoon Company has produced a new, improved instrument, one of which he presently plays in the Philharmonic. He is married to Anne Ediger, an applied linguist and author who is a professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York.
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