Clayton F. Zeller-Townson

is the founder of RUCKUS and is a bassoonist, ensemble leader and educator based in New York.

He plays with the leading period instrument ensembles in North America including Tafelmusik, The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists and Musica Angelica. With a deep passion for contemporary music, Clay has produced and premiered many new works for early instruments.


From 2011-2016 he taught at The North Carolina Governor’s School as Instrumental Music Faculty. He has given masterclasses at UCLA, The University of Missouri and The Eastman School of Music.

Clay was born in Nova Scotia, raised in eastern North Carolina, and found his way to the baroque bassoon by way of the tenor saxophone. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Performer’s Certificate from The Eastman School of Music and a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School.