Theresa Koenig is dedicated to creating bridges between the music of the past and our present time. A drive to see things differently and challenge the status quo led her to the bassoon, and then eventually into early and new music. Dr. Koenig became intrigued by the bassoon when told 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 as they suggested that women should not play the bassoon. Deciding one was not enough; in 2010, Dr. Koenig began her journey performing historical bassoons and dabbled in shawms, dulcians, and recorders. Dr. Koenig further complicated her life by moving to Germany in 2014, deciding in 2015 to settle in Cologne.
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 the founding 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 with 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, and 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 masterclasses on the baroque bassoon at Lawrence University, University of Toronto, University of Iowa, and others and has been teaching privately since 2005.
At 18, Dr. Koenig performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as a winner in their Young Artist Competition. She also won or was a finalist in the Irving Shane competition, the IU Concerto Competition, and the UW-Madison Concerto competition. Dr. Koenig earned her Bachelor’s degree in performance and 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 awarded the Paul Collins Distinguished Fellowship. At UW-Madison, Dr. Koenig studied modern, baroque, and classical bassoon with Marc Vallon. Additionally, during her Doctorate, Dr. Koenig studied composition with Les Thimmig. After completing her doctorate at UW-Madison, Dr. Koenig studied with Michael McCraw and then 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, a group dedicated to seeking out new audiences and bringing early music into the 21st century. In addition to her performing and teaching work, Dr. Koenig writes at Early Music Land. In addition to her musical studies and activities, Dr. Koenig has been practicing the Alexander Technique since 2016.
Dr. Koenig now lives in Cologne, Germany, with her husband, son, two cats, many plants, and sourdough starter.