Bassoonist overcomes setbacks to graduate with Class of 2016

Playing an instrument came easy for Jonathan LiVolsi; attending classes didn’t.

It took two attempts and six years for LiVolsi, 24, to earn his degree from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts.

LiVolsi, who plays the bassoon, is considered one of the most talented undergraduates to go through the Rutgers music program, but he struggled academically.

“It was rough starting out at school because I was never a straight-A student,” he said. LiVolsi hadn’t expected to get into a rigorous academic college program like Rutgers. In April of his senior year, his band teacher told him about Mason Gross auditioning bassoonists. “He said, ‘You’re taking this audition and you’re getting in,’ ” he recalled. “ I didn’t have a plan. I wasn’t looking at any other colleges or universities. I thought I’d be going to a county college for a couple years and then figuring out what I was going to do.”

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Posted May 2016.