Theresa Koenig became intrigued with the bassoon when her band director told her it was the most challenging wind instrument to master. In researching this daunting instrument, the 11-year-old Theresa found two books about the bassoon written in the 1970s; these books solidified her resolve to master the instrument when they suggested that women should not play bassoon because individuals needed large hands and manly lungs. Deciding that one bassoon wasn’t difficult enough, in 2010, Dr. Koenig began her journey into performing on historical bassoons and dabbling in shawms, dulcians, and recorders. Dr. Koenig further complicated her life by moving to Germany in 2014, deciding in 2015 that Cologne was where she wanted to make her home.
Dr. Koenig has performed with the period ensembles Capella Augustina, Chicago’s Baroque Band, Eliza’s Toyes, Ensemble Musical Offering, Kansas City Baroque Consortium, l’arte del Mondo, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Piffaro Renaissance Band, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and others. On modern bassoon, she was a member of the bassoon piano duo, Duo Ricercata, and the Ligeti and Helios woodwind quintets. She toured with the IU New Music Ensemble, American Wind Symphony, performed chamber music at the Hot Springs, Madeline Island, and Madison Early Music Festivals, and was a guest artist in the UW-Madison’s Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, and many others.
She has been on faculty at the Madison Early Music Festival, UW-Whitewater Early Music Festival, the Madeline Island Music Festival, the UW-Madison 2010 Bassoon Day, and led the Winds of Southern Wisconsin Recorder Ensemble in fall 2013. Dr. Koenig has given lectures and master classes on the baroque bassoon at Lawrence University, University of Toronto, University of Iowa, and others.
Dr. Koenig earned her Bachelor’s degree in performance as well as her Master’s degree in performance with a conducting minor from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. While there she studied bassoon with Kim Walker. Dr. Koenig was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate for musical excellence in her junior recital, making her one of the youngest students to receive this distinction. She completed a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the first bassoonist to be awarded the Paul Collins Distinguished Fellowship. At UW-Madison, Dr. Koenig studied modern, baroque, and classical bassoon with Marc Vallon. After completing her doctorate at UW-Madison, Dr. Koenig pursued a Post-Doctorate Master’s in Early Music at the Musikhochschule-Leipzig, studying historical bassoons with Györgyi Farkas.
In 2019 Dr. Koenig founded the early music ensemble, Ensemble Ricercata, a mixed chamber music ensemble performing music from the 17th to 19th centuries. In addition to her performing and teaching work, Dr. Koenig writes at Early Music Land.
Dr. Koenig now lives in Cologne, Germany with her husband, son, two cats, many plants, and sourdough starter.