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Happily going outside the traditional concert hall, Jo Anne Sukumaran is an independent bassoonist, educator and podcast host. She brings an unconventional and refreshing approach to classical music-making. Curious and adventurous, her playful approach to the bassoon belies a sharp technical ability that has built her reputation for bringing to life a diverse range of styles.  Her debut music album “The Night Garden” released in 2019 paid homage to her classical training and Asian roots. With an ear for unusual sounds and collaborators, she often dreams up eclectic and original programmes filled with colours, textures, flavours and senses to serve up a fusion of classical, contemporary and cross-cultural works, delighting audiences. She hosts and produces a successful series of artist interviews, on a podcast called "Legends of Reed", since 2018,  to bring double reed instruments to a wider audience.

Her sights were originally set on the cello as a young teen, until an audition for the Singapore National Youth (SNYO) Orchestra changed her life. The conductor directed her to the bassoon instead. Jo Anne started private lessons with Zhang Jin Min, on a full SNYO scholarship at age 12 and served as an orchestral member until age 19. She then studied at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland with Gabor Meszaros. She continued developing her playing style and technical prowess through masterclasses that would prove decisive. In 2017, following Bram van Sambeek’s endorsement and guidance, she realized her ambition of recording a solo album.  "The Night Garden" is her first presentation as a solo artiste, taking shape as a musical journey through a metaphorical garden that creates a safe space for the soul and mind. During the pandemic, she conceptualized and released  a two-part digital concert series, “Letters to Mozart”, in Dec 2020 - an interdisciplinary project to celebrate Mozart’s music and life.


She has performed at major Singapore concert venues. She made her orchestral debut in Carnegie Hall in Nov 2022 and did further graduate studies in the USA. With an ear for unusual partners for her bassoon, recent collaborations have included eclectic duos and mixed ensembles with the harp, percussion, piano, and the classical and electric guitars. Her personal philosophy towards programming she feels are akin to a chef dreaming up a combination of colours, flavours and senses. She has a keen interest in contemporary music, story-telling and improvisation and enjoys working with contemporary composers. She commissioned Canadian composer Gabo Champagne to write a special multi-disciplinary piece "Ten Days at a Traffic Light". As one of the winners of the IDRS Commissioning Grant, she commissioned Avik Chari and premiered "little islands" for bassoon and electronics at the 2023 IDRS Conference (Mahidol University, Bangkok). 

Jo Anne is a committed educator – she has coached and prepared many of her secondary and pre-college band students for Singapore Youth Festival Band (SYF) competitions, auditions and concerts. She has served as Adjunct Faculty at Republic Polytechnic, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and at the SIM University - University at Buffalo Singapore. 

Jo Anne has always felt passionately about using her music to promote the social causes she cares about. In 2012, she supported the project, Impossible Orchestra (Melbourne), which raised awareness for unpaid carers in Australia. Invited by conductor Brett Kelly, she performed pro-bono alongside Australian musicians and was filmed in a documentary directed by Aaron Wilson. She also supported the Save the Bassoon campaign finale concert (Amsterdam, 2016). She was invited to perform alongside Dutch musicians on a Dutch TV show NPO, “Holland Festival 2016”.


Edited Jun 2023


Dr. Gerber-ten Bosch Foundation (Zürich)

The National Arts Council of Singapore

The Arts Fund, Singapore

Michelle & Richard Chen, in association with The Chenter Foundation & Licha Stelaus Productions

The Lucy & Stephen Maxym Endowment, The Banff Centre

Trailblazers Foundation Singapore


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