Cheryl Fries


Hometown: Red Creek, NY

Alma maters: New England Conservatory of Music, B.M. 2017; Manhattan School of Music Orchestral Performance Program, M.M. 2019, P.S. 2020

Photo 1 by Matt Dine


Awards/competitions: Finalist, 2019 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition

Appearances: Bowdoin International Music Festival, 2018

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? I actually started my career as a flutist in the fourth grade, and about a couple of weeks into learning the flute I decided that I wanted to be a professional musician.

Who is your biggest inspiration? I’ve been lucky to know a lot of inspiring people throughout my career as a musician, but my biggest musical inspiration would definitely have to be my teacher and NY Philharmonic Associate Principal bassoonist, Kim Laskowski. I took a trial lesson with her before my graduate auditions and in one lesson she changed my entire perspective on bassoon and my own musicianship. Her dedication to her students, commitment to learning, and love of the bassoon is a constant inspiration and I strive to be half the musician she is.

Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? My freshman year of college at NEC, I was performing a concert at Carnegie Hall and with my nerves/excitement I completely forgot my seat strap, which is how I am able to hold my instrument up while I am playing. So, I had to hold my bassoon up with sheer strength, which was incredibly awkward, but I made it through the piece!

What is some advice you would give to your younger self? 1. Use a metronome, rhythm isn’t subjective. 2. Enjoy your own personal development and growth as a musician and don’t judge your success by the success of other people.

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Piano, there are too many amazing pieces written for piano that I wish I could play.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: My last name is pronounced Freeze, not like French Fries. That always surprises and disappoints people.