Bassoonist Tom Bittinger has been a member of the Fort Collins Symphony longer than any other current member of the orchestra, beginning his tenure under the baton of Will Schwartz in the 1974-75 season. In 2014 he was honored and humbled when the Principal Bassoon chair was endowed in his name with a generous gift from Dr. Bev Donnelley and Bill West. In addition to his role as a musician, Tom has served on both Fort Collins Symphony conductor search committees, on the orchestra musicians’ committee, and has served three terms as a musician representative on the Symphony Board of Directors.
Mr. Bittinger holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in music and education from Colorado State University, and also studied bassoon performance with Walter Greene at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Yoshi Ishikawa at The University of Colorado. In addition to performing with the Fort Collins Symphony, Tom plays bassoon with the Cheyenne Symphony, Opera Fort Collins, The Larimer Chorale, and Canyon Concert Ballet. He also can be heard, along with his colleagues Susie McCollum, Melanie Fisher, and Kris Fletcher, in Bassoonovation, a bassoon quartet.
For 31 years, Mr. Bittinger taught instrumental music in Poudre School District. Most of this time was as band and orchestra director at Boltz Junior High, but he also taught at Blevins, Preston, and Lesher Junior High Schools.
Now retired from the schools, he has an active studio of middle and high school bassoon students. He loves fly fishing the beautiful rivers of Colorado, and traveling the world with his wife and favorite duet partner, Beth Wells, a cellist with the Symphony.