RELEASE: Ankush Kumar Bahl leads the Omaha Symphony in Schubert’s Fifth Symphony

Omaha Symphony Bassoonists James Compton and Nicholas Nelson perform lesser-known double bassoon concerto

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 2, 2021—The Omaha Symphony’s Joslyn series presents the perfect opportunity to showcase works for a smaller orchestra in a more intimate setting, as well as offering the community a chance to see the musicians of the orchestra in action as soloists; Schubert 5 with Bahl is no exception. The program features bassoonists James Compton and Nicholas Nelson performing a lesser-known double concerto for two bassoons, as well as two much-beloved works for a smaller orchestra by Bohuslav Martinů and Franz Schubert.

Schubert 5 with Bahl will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14 at the Joslyn Art Museum Witherspoon Concert Hall. Ticket holders are invited to arrive early for the Joslyn Art Museum curator-led pre-concert talk at 1 p.m. and 1:25 p.m.

“Schubert’s Fifth Symphony is one of my favorite works in the repertoire,” said Maestro Ankush Kumar Bahl. “Schubert had a particular gift for melody, which we can hear in his transcendent works for voice and piano, and that gift is on full display in his fifth symphony. It is a piece I studied a great deal when I was younger and I am extremely excited to revisit it and share this masterpiece with our audiences in Omaha.”

Performance Details:

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m.
Joslyn Art Museum Witherspoon Concert Hall
Pre-concert talk at 1 and 1:25 p.m.

Ankush Kumar Bahl, conductor
James Compton, bassoon
Nicholas Nelson, bassoon

MARTINU: Toccata e Due Canzoni
JOHNSEN: Concerto for Two Bassoons in F Major
SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 5 in B flat Major, D. 485

Martinů, Johnsen, Schubert

Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů’s output in the early 20th century was particularly prolific. Though he was mostly self-taught as a composer, his work contains influences from Debussy and Stravinsky, Bohemian folk music, English madrigals and even jazz. His Toccata e Due Conzoni was written one year after World War II and reflects on this global event in its obsessive hammering rhythms while offering glimpses of hope for the future.

Not much is known about German Baroque-era composer and musician Hinrich Philip Johnsen. The lives of many composers and working musicians of his time have been similarly forgotten, but we remember them by the gems of the works they leave behind. The history of his concerto for two bassoons remains shrouded in mystery, but the work is a Baroque delight nonetheless, showcasing a section of the orchestra that isn’t often featured front-and-center.

Franz Schubert is best known for his prodigious talent, depth of works for voice and his early death at 31 years of age; still, his contribution to the symphonic repertory is significant. He wrote his fifth symphony, often nicknamed “Mozartian,” at age 19 during a time of especially extensive musical output for the young composer. Mozart’s 41 symphonies were more popular than ever despite his untimely death 25 years prior, but the young Schubert’s obsessive study transcended the Zeitgeist of 1816 Vienna. His fifth symphony leads with the composer’s unmistakable gift for melody but gestures obviously to Mozart’s famous and fateful G minor symphony.

About James Compton

Jim Compton, the Omaha Symphony’s principal bassoon, is a native of Long Beach, California. He started playing the bassoon in seventh grade and received degrees from the University of Southern California and The Juilliard School. He is a proud father of two sons and enjoys riding his bicycle on the seemingly endless amount of gravel and dirt roads the Midwest has to offer.

About Nicholas Nelson

Nicholas Nelson joined the Omaha Symphony as assistant principal and second bassoon in September of 2016. Previously he held positions and performed with orchestras and festivals across Texas, the Midwest, and Canada. He holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, Northwestern University and Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Kristin Wolfe Jensen, Christopher Millard and John Clouser respectively.

Nick enjoys performing frequently as a chamber musician with the Omaha Chamber Music Society and the Bassoons Across Nebraska bassoon quartet. Prior to joining the Omaha Symphony. he lived in Austin, Texas, as a freelancer and private teacher.

About Ankush Kumar Bahl

Ankush Kumar Bahl is currently the 13th Music Director in the Omaha Symphony's 100-year history. He is recognized today by orchestras and audiences alike for his impressive conducting technique, thoughtful interpretations, and engaging podium presence. In concert, he has left The Washington Post “wanting to hear more” and has been praised by The New York Times for his “clear authority and enthusiasm” and ability to “inspire.” His recent guest conducting highlights include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orchestre National de France, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.) Summer festival engagements include the Copenhagen Philharmonic at Tivoli, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institute, and at Wolf Trap with the NSO.

A protégé of former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur, Bahl served as his assistant conductor at the Orchestre National de France from 2008-2011. From 2011-2015, he served as the assistant conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In addition to Maestro Masur, Bahl is fortunate to count Jaap van Zweden, Zdenek Macal, Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman and Gianandrea Noseda among his mentors.

Ticketing Information

Tickets for Schubert 5 with Bahl start at $35. Tickets can be purchased by visiting, through the Ticket Omaha app, or by calling Ticket Omaha at 402.345.0606. Student rush tickets are $10 and can be purchased one hour before the performance. Performance dates are subject to change. In the event of performance changes or cancellations, the Omaha Symphony will email ticket holders to inform them of new dates and ticketing options. Patrons with questions may email The Omaha Symphony also regularly posts performance updates at, along with the Omaha Symphony’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Patrons can sign up for the latest updates at

Public Health Information

The safety of our patrons, musicians, staff, and community is the Omaha Symphony’s priority. The Omaha Symphony continues to work closely with the Douglas County Department of Health and our partners at Omaha Performing Arts and UNMC to ensure the safety of all involved in the Omaha Symphony’s return to live performances. All patrons will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire prior to accessing their mobile tickets via the Ticket Omaha app. Masks are required at indoor Omaha Symphony performances.

Find the most up to date public health information at

The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. In addition to Masterworks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of more than 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit Programs, artists, dates, times, prices, and availability are subject to change.