Dr. Conor Bell enjoys a varied career as an educator, orchestral musician, and chamber musician. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Bassoon and Music Theory at Middle Tennessee State University, previously he taught at Auburn University.
Bell is a passionate chamber musician, currently performing with the Elicio Winds and is a founding member of the Æther reed quintet. Recent chamber performances include the College Music Society National Conference, the International Double Reed Society Conference, the National Flute Association Conference, and community outreach concerts at various venues throughout the South.
Conor is also an active orchestral musician, having served as Principal Bassoon of the Owensboro Symphony since 2016, and as Second Bassoon of the LaGrange Symphony since 2021, in addition to frequent appearances as a substitute bassoonist with ensembles throughout the Midwest and the South.
As a performer, Conor is particularly interested in new music, championing the works of living composers and pursuing opportunities to commission new works, especially as a means to promote pieces by artists from under-represented backgrounds. He has more than two dozen premieres to his name, many of which came about by commission or consortium. Conor and his wife—oboist Kathleen Carter Bell—were recently awarded one of three commissioning grants by the International Double Reed Society to commission a new trio for double reeds and piano by Afro-British composer Althea Talbot-Howard which was premiered at IDRS 2022.
Conor holds a doctorate and master’s degree from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, with minors in music theory and arts administration. His dissertation, titled “David Maslanka and his works for the bassoon,” explores the life and compositional process of American composer David Maslanka, and provides performer’s guides to his solo works for the bassoon. He is fortunate to have studied with many wonderful teachers, including William Ludwig, Kathleen McLean, Tina Carpenter, and Christopher Millard.