Jonesing for the late 80s and early 90s? We got you covered! In honor of the ISB’s 50th year anniversary, we are sending out monthly installments of throwback photos from each decade of the ISB. All leading to this year’s Convention in Ithaca, June 5-10, 2017!  In this installment we’re diving in to 1987-1997.
Between 1987 and 1997 the ISB:
  • Held the 1988 ISB convention at the University of California-Los Angeles, which included an international competition with classical, jazz, and orchestral divisions. Paul Zibits was the convention chair.
  • Held the 1990 ISB convention at New York University in New York City, organized by Don Boyer, General Manager, and Jeff Bradetich, Executive Director.
  • Endorsed the 1991 international convention in Mittenwald, Germany.
  • Moved its offices to Dallas, Texas, in 1991 to be managed by Don Dillon Associates. Madeleine Crouch of DDA is named general manager. 
  • Held the1993 convention at the Interlochen Academy for the Arts. David Neubert, was the convention chair.
  • Held the 1995 convention at Indiana University. Lawrence Hurst was the convention chair.
  • Sponsored the first biennial composition competition beginning in 1996. 
  • Held the 1997 convention at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Paul Ellison was the convention chair.

Who says bass is a man’s instrument? Here are some inspirational female bass players that inspire young girls to this day.

Carolyn White Buckley 1991 December

Representing ISB Calendar ’91: Carolyn White Buckley, Ms. December

“Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1951, Carolyn Buckley received a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction in 1973 from Indiana University, where she studied with Murray Grodner and Gary Karr.  She has been associate principal double bass with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 1973.  Buckley also arranges music for double bass, specializing in duets, trios and quartets.  International Music Company will be publishing several of her double bass quartets in the near furture.  Meanwhile she is planning other new ensembles.  In her spare time Buckley designs and produces formal concert clothing especially suited for double bass playing.

From ISB Calendar ’95: Helen Stevenson, Ms. October

“Helen Stevenson received a bachelor of music degree in her native New Zealand before continuing studies and playing professionally in Australia.  She emigrated to Boston in 1985, where she heads the mini-bass program at the New England Conservatory.  From 1991 through 1993, she studied with the Szilvay brothers, and has adapted their work in Colourstrings method for young bassists.  A very active promoter for young bassists, Helen has directed kids’ bass programs throughout the world and serves as a column editor for the ISB magazine.  When she’s home, Helen is “headmaster” of the Boston Bassketeers, a young bassists’ ensemble, now famous for its trademark beanie hats – with propellers.”

Helen Stevenson 1995 October
Diana Gannett: 1996 April

From ISB Calendar ’96: Diana Gannett, Ms. April

“It’s spring, and Diana Gannett finds that even the basses are blooming at Mary Hill’s Gazebo on the Green in Iowa City, where Diana is an associate professor at University of Iowa.  A former student of Dr. Eldon Obrecht, Stuart Sankey and Gary Karr, she earned the first Yale doctorate in musical arts in double bass, and has performed with artists of the Guaneri, Emerson, Laurentian and Stanford Quartets and the Borodin Trio.  Her appointments include the Yale University School of Music, the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, and the Oberlin College Conservatory in Ohio.  Diana has also worked as an instrument builder with the luthier Carleen Hutchins, who made the beautiful bass on which she performs.”

Love is in the air.  From ISB Calendar ’96: Charles and Sheila Garrett, Mr. and Mrs.

“As principal [Charles] and assistant principal [Sheila] bassists of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles and Sheila Garrett have been both stand and life partners for nearly twenty years.  Both are graduates of the University of Michigan as students of Lawrence Hurst.  Charles is on the faculty of the University of Calgary, Canada, and Sheila teaches at the Conservatory of Mount Royal College.  Sons Michael, a hockey player, and Wayne, a swimmer, keep their parents busy driving to practices.  Sheila enjoys running, while Charles is a homebrewer and tennis player.  He also made all the ornaments on their house, where they live in a blissful state of Passione Amerose!”

We aren’t called international for nothing! Here are some notable international bassists from this decade that spread bass culture across oceans.


From ISB Calendar 1990: Harald Friedrich“Born in Leipzig, Harald Friedrich studied double bass with Konrad Siebach in Leipzig, Lajos Montag in Budapest, and Frantisek Hertl in Prague.  He played with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and was also principal bass with the Handel Festival Orchestra of Halle.  He currently serves as principal double bassist with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, where he also teaches at the Conservatory.  Friedrich has appeared as a soloist and given master classes throughout Europe.  Specializing in classical concerti in the Viennese tuning, he also developed a bass method that gives extra freedom to the left hand.”


From ISB Calendar 1995: Francesco Petracchi | “‘Who is truly man’s best friend, his dog – or his bass?’ Francesco Petracchi asks the musical question as he prepares for another appearance as one of the world’s leading performers and teachers of the double bass.  His concertizing has taken him to Europe’s most important concert halls, and many composers – Mortari, Donatoni, Henze Rota, and Berio – have dedicated works to him.  He is a professor at the Conservatoire in Geneva, Switzerland, and records often, winning the Premio Italia for A Double Bass in Search of Love.  In recent years, Petracchi has dedicated much of his time to conducting, concentrating on seldom-performed works of the classical/romantic repertoire.  His instrument is a rare Rossi.


From ISB Calendar 1992: Wei Bao-zheng | “Born in Beijing in 1936, Wei Bao-zheng first played the cello.  He studied the double bass at the Central Philharmonic Society and at the Central Conservatory, where he now teaches.  He serves as director of the China Society of Bassists.  Wei joined the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra in 1957 and has been principal for 33 years.  His section joins him in the photo.  Front row from left to right: Zhan Xu-ming, Meng Sen, Wei Bao-zheng (with his bass), Zhang Zhi-rong, Ma Shao-ying; back row from left to right: Shao Da-zhao, Wang Kai, Liu Yu-xiang.”

1988 Convention Masterclasses & Performances: Los Angeles! (Sources: BassWorld Volume 15, Issue 1, Fall 1988)

It’s Electric! 

The bass enters the new wave of technology

Double Bass Bridge Pickup

Double Bass Bridge Pickup

“The piezoelectric transducer element is incorporated into a conventional wood double bass bridge.  It therefore permits a non comprising, natural audio quality.  The DB-1 is installed on the double bass like a standard bridge is mounted on the instrument.”  Bassist: Peter Herbert (BassWorld, Vol. 21, Issue 3, 1997)

Ray Ramírez

The Caribbean Series Electric Upright Bass by Ray Ramírez

Instruments made for the Bass player by a bass player!

(BassWorld, Vol. 22, Issue 2, 1997)

Making basses are just as important as playing and teaching them! 

Here are a few notable bass makers:

Hammond Ashley

From ISB Calendar 1987: Hammond Ashley

“Hammond Ashley received his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 1924.  He was caught in the Pacific area by a Japanese sneak attack before World War II.  After the war Hammond began to build radar stations in Alaska, France and later in the Middle East.  It was in the Middle East that his interests in, and studies on, the bass began.  On returning to the states in 1957, he played in a local amateur symphony orchestra from about 20 years.  Upon being laid-off before Christmas 1963 from his work on ground-support equipment for missiles at Boening, he started his retirement business of making stringed instruments, specializing in basses and opened his own shop in Seattle.”

From ISB Calendar 1987: Samuel Kolstein

“Samuel Kolstein is founder of Samuel Kolstein & Son, Ltd. and Kolstein Music, Inc. in New York.  He has been involved in instrument and bow making, repair and restoration for over fifty years.  Sam studied with the late Fred Zimmerman and was a student at the Juilliard School with studies in piano and composition.  During the war he was a composer and arranger for Army Bad.  He has lectured and taught instrument and bow making, repair and restoration at many colleges and universities as well as writing numerous articles for leading string publications.  He is the Luthier’s Corner Editor and Board member of the ISB.”

Samuel Kolstein
Günter Krahmer-Pöllmann

From ISB Calendar 1988: Günter Krahmer-Pöllmann

“On May 28, 1988 the Family Pöllmann will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pöllmann double bass making in Mittenwald, West Germany.  The Master-Bassmakers Günter (father) and Michael (son are the third and fourth generation of Pöllmann bassmakers. Günter is not only a bassmaker, but he performs on the bass in the Church of Mittenwald with a bow and not a saw as the photo shows.”

Help us celebrate the ISB's 50th Anniversary

Jarrett Bastow
Jarrett Bastow

Jarrett Bastow is the ISB's intern for the spring 2017 semester as part of his degree plan for earning his Master of Arts Leadership and Administration from Colorado State University. Jarrett is the mastermind behind our popular "Blast from the Past" emails celebrating the ISB's 50th anniversary. He earned his Master in Music Performance in 2013 from Northwestern University. He is currently personnel manager of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, where he also serves as principal bass. Jarrett is also a section bass with the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Symphony Orchestra and subs for the Tulsa Opera, Shreveport (Louisiana) Symphony Orchestra, the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra and The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The ISB is fortunate to have him on its team this spring - thanks, Jarrett!