I was so happy to discover that Catherine [Van Handel] was making reeds for sale, based on her beautiful playing! To fully explore the different styles she currently offers, I ordered one of each. I am very happy with all of them and I’m confident that her reeds are suitable for performance in any orchestra hall. Catherine’s reeds produce a big, even, rich and ringing sound, with great response and stable intonation in all registers. They are finished to the point where I felt comfortable performing on them right away – the sound makes me feel good! There is also enough “wiggle room” for minor adjustments based on personal preference and the context in which they will be played.
Associate Principal Bassoon
San Francisco Symphony
These reeds are hand made for each individual order so they aren’t sitting around drying out for who knows how long—they are made for you! I’ve known Catherine since high school and one of my favorite aspects of her playing is her gorgeous warm tone. When I heard she was opening a reed making business, I jumped at the opportunity to buy some of her reeds. These reeds are READY TO GO. I wanted to showcase that in the videos below. I had no problem playing all registers and dynamics, while maintaining pitch and tone throughout. It’s kind of amazing. They arrived less than a week from my online order and the construction of the reed looks well done. I love the use of beeswax instead of duco and the reed fit perfectly on my bocal.
The Florida Orchestra
“I can unreservedly recommend Catherine [Van Handel]’s reed blanks to anyone! They were exceptionally well made, consistent, and helped during a period when I wanted to try many different shapes before buying different shapers. Each blank was made with meticulous attention to detail in order to ensure the best possible results. They can be useful to anyone from a student who is first learning how to finish reeds to a professional player looking to supplement their own blanks. Give them a try!”
Glenn Einschlag, Principal Bassoon, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Faculty Member, Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Toronto
I recently received two of Catherine’s finished reeds and they both play wonderfully straight out of the box. I can confidently say that they required virtually no adjusting and possessed ideal qualities in response, intonation, and sound, which allowed me to just focus on playing. I highly recommend them to students and professionals alike!
Second Bassoon, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Bassoon Professor at Rowan University
Thank you Catherine for offering a great product! Your profiled cane is very consistent and easy to work with and the reeds are very well made. I’m happy to be able to suggest to colleagues and students!
Adjunct Professor, Kean University