Author: Elisabeth Ellison

2010 Passings

Philip H. Albright, ISB member and professor emeritus of double bass at Ball State University, died November 30, 2010. He was 83 years old. Phil graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 1949. He later earned a Master’s degree from Washington University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Eastman. From 1949 to 1958 he played in the National Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony. In 1959 he joined the faculty of Ball State Teacher’s College (later Ball State University) in Muncie, Indiana. For 41 years, he played with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, a summer chamber orchestra in Lake Placid, NY. The Adirondack Mountains were his second home and after retiring from Ball State in 1992, he moved to Lake Placid where he was a well-loved member of the community. During more than 33 years of teaching “Doc Albright” or “Dr. Pha,” as he was known by his students, influenced the careers of many musicians who now perform in symphony orchestras and teach at schools, colleges and universities across the country. Memorial donations can be made to the Philip Albright Chair for Double Bass, c/o The Lake Placid Sinfonietta, PO Box 1303, Lake Placid, NY 12946. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra announced in a joint statement with the Vienna State Opera on that double bassist Georg Straka died November 3rd in while hiking on Mount Fuji, Japan’s...

Read More

2009 Passings

George Vance passed away on August 16, 2009 after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 60 years old. George was internationally recognized as a pioneer of pedagogy for young bassists. The author of Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, a method for teaching the bass to young students, he was on the faculty of the University of Maryland, and lectured and gave clinics in Ireland, England, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Australia and throughout the United States, as well as holding his own popular annual workshop. A student of Tony Bianco and a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University, he was awarded the American String Teachers Association “Citation for Outstanding Leadership and Merit” in 1990. In 1995 the International Society of Bassists presented him with a Special Recognition Award for his groundbreaking work. He held a teaching certificate from the Institut International François Rabbath. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the George Vance Young Bassists Education Fund, established in George’s honor and dedicated to offering educational opportunities for young bassists. Send donations payable to the International Society of Bassists and addressed to the George Vance Young Bassists Education Fund, International Society of Bassists, 14070 Proton Rd., Suite 100, LB 9, Dallas, Texas 75244. The ISB is a 501(C)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. The ISB extends its deepest sympathies...

Read More

Results from A Survey of, for and about Bassists

Response to the survey, ‘Of, for and about Bassists’ was significant: over 520 bassists participated! Thank you for your valuable and insightful input, your time, and your openness. To review, the survey included the following categories: General Setup Information, Physical Symptoms, Mental/Emotional Symptoms, Change, and Describe Yourself (demographic information). In analyzing the results, patterns began to appear. General setup information and demographics were assessed first. Results were then looked at from several different perspectives. Ultimately, what is presented here is the result of looking for any patterns among bassists’ responses. In addition to general setup and demographical information, results will be shown in the following subcategories: primary bow usage, primary focus of work, and areas of the body most significantly impacted with pain, tension, and fatigue or weakness. In general, levels of symptom intensity will be reported with the following descriptions: minimal, moderate, intense, extreme. Intensity levels reported in these results apply to most but not all respondents, and some reported symptoms only on an intermittent basis. Respondents had a wide range of intensity levels; intensity levels reported here are for the average of all results for each individual question. Some respondents noted additional sources of physical symptoms: computer use, sitting for extended periods of time, lifting incorrectly, shoveling snow, gardening, sports, and other general aspects of life. Results were cross-examined within demographic groups (student, amateur, professional orchestral, professional...

Read More

A Free Service That Connects Basses To Bassists!

Rent-a-Bass It’s getting harder and harder to travel with an acoustic bass these days, as I’m sure most of you know. Since the spring of 2002, I have been renting basses for every date I do on the road, which works out to be over 120 different basses a year. Most of the time the quality is good, but there’s been a few gigs where I would have had a better time “scatting” my bass lines. Google searching for music stores might work for a few major cities, but even then you run the risk of getting a bass that came straight from a factory and wasn’t set up by a professional. In my concert rider, I began requesting that the bass be rented from a professional bass player or string repair shop, not a general music store. This one little sentence completely changed the quality of instruments that I now receive. The only trick is finding the professional bass players in each town that we go to. On one occasion, I had a 10 day tour lined up, but none of the venues were able to locate an instrument. All of our contact people were clueless on who to call or where to look. That’s when it hit me. I decided that with the way things were going, we bassists needed a website where we could locate instruments...

Read More

Upcoming Events

See the full calendar