Get to know Christopher Millard, NAC Orchestra bassoonist

Q & A with Christopher Millard, bassoon, NAC Orchestra

Q1. When did you begin playing the bassoon and why this instrument?

I came to the bassoon at age 15, after years as a pianist and later a saxophonist.  My story is that of every bassoonist… if you show some talent on the popular instruments like clarinet or saxophone, the band leader will talk you into playing the exotic ones like the oboe or bassoon.  From there, it is the path of least resistance...

Q2. What do you love the most about being a part of the NAC Orchestra and being on stage?

I’m very fond of my woodwind colleagues and our collective ensemble skills and sense of style.  The whole NAC Orchestra demonstrates a chamber music mentality, with constant effort to listen to each other.

Q3. What is the story behind your passion for bread making? Please explain what goes into your creative process.

I have been an ardent cook all my life.  Though I have made traditional yeast breads for many years, I came to sourdough breads about three years ago.  It is more time consuming and more challenging, but the outcomes are deliciously satisfying.  At first, I was obsessive about measuring and weighing ingredients, but as time has passed I’ve become much more flexible in my approach.  After all, human beings have been making bread for millennia, mostly without the aid of sophisticated measuring tools.  It is a matter of observation and feel.  A professional baker needs product consistency; an amateur like me is content with the occasional surprise!  It is so fascinating to observe how in this digital age, where attention spans are becoming so short, so many people are developing an affinity and interest in the fermentation arts.  They all take time and they seem to be a window into the mysteries of microorganisms.  In medicine, we are seeing an explosion in the understanding of our bodies’ relationship to our microbiomes.  Bread making is an external process that reflects the same symbiosis. 

Q4.  How does bread making influence your performance on stage?

There is no direct correlation.  But all my life I have looked for creative pursuits; pottery, film making, podcasting, instrument repair.  Bread is so elemental, like musical scales.  Universally appreciated.

Q5.  If you would have picked a completely different career, what would it be?

When I was a kid I presumed I would become a microbiologist.  But in retrospect I can see I would never had the broad mathematic discipline for a career in science.  Broadcasting and film arts would likely be my most natural path.

Q6.  What is your favorite Ottawa spot to relax and unwind and why?

My wife and I own a year round cottage in La Peche.  It is 45 minutes away but seems like a thousand kilometres.  It is my preferred place to find internal balance.

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