Headliners

ISB 2017

Nicholas Walker, our 2017 Convention Chair, has just announced the headliners for ISB 2017 in Ithaca, New York.

This page was last updated on December 10, 2016.

MONDAY: June 5, 2017

Gary Karr

Gary Karr

Keynote Speaker

Gary Karr, acclaimed as “the world’s leading solo bassist” (Time Magazine), is, in fact, the first solo doublebassist in history to make that pursuit a full-time career. It is a career that adds new lustre to his already lustrous 1611 Amati doublebass which was given to him by the widow of Serge Koussevitzky.

Since his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1962, Karr has performed as soloist on six continents with orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Simon Bolivar Orchestra (Caracas, Venezuela), Jerusalem Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and with all the major orchestras of Australia.

In June 2001, Gary Karr played his farewell public concert as part of the International Society of Bassists 2001 Convention in Indianapolis. A large audience that included eight hundred bassists from twenty-seven different countries attended this event. At the close of this recital with his pianist, Harmon Lewis, Karr was given the ISB’s Distinguished Teacher Award. He was also presented with a very special gift from more than two hundred of his colleagues and fans…a newly developed rose named in his honor to commemorate his forty years on the international concert stage.

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Sam Suggs

Sam Suggs

Winner of the 2015 ISB Solo Competition

An omnivorous musician, Sam Suggs was recently named New Artist of the Month by Musical America, joined the Concert Artist Guild roster as a soloist and New Music/New Places Fellow, and earned First Prize at the 2015 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition performing many of his own compositions.

As a collaborative bassist, he has performed at Mostly Music, Chamber Music Northwest, Yellow Barn, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, his contemporary/jazz trio Triplepoint has toured in West Africa and Northern Europe, and his band Foundry was named a Laureate Winner in the Open Division of the inaugural M-Prize Competition.

Suggs served as principal bass of the inaugural Oregon Bach Festival Berwick Academy for Historical Performance and earned honors in music theory and cognition from Northwestern University while working as the youngest principal bass of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Additionally, his chamber music arrangements have been performed by Chamber Music Society Lincoln Center, Mostly Music (NJ), the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, and Mistral Music (Boston).

Currently Assistant Professor of Bass at James Madison University, Suggs received the Dean’s Prize and Presser Foundation Award during his doctoral studies at Yale University and, among many incredible mentors, he has worked with Don Palma and Peter Lloyd.

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Mike Forfia

Mike Forfia

2015 ISB Jazz Competition Winner

Communication is the core element of Mike Forfia’s artistic pursuits. A native of Akron, Ohio, he melds his diverse experiences to create space for communication to flourish. As a bassist, radio producer, and educator he constantly engages and deliberately elevates the more beautiful aspects of humanity with pragmatic optimism.

Forfia’s most recent pursuits have garnered international acclaim. He was a finalist in the Ron Carter Bass Competition at the Detroit Jazz Festival in July 2016 and was awarded the 1st prize at the International Society of Bassists’ Scott LaFaro jazz bass competition in July 2015. He produced season two of “Jazz@Eastman – Past, Present, and Future,” a weekly hour-long podcast featuring music and stories from the Sibley Music Archives and Eastman’s global alumni network – which is currently in its second rotation in Rochester, NY.

Mike Forfia was the recipient of the 2016 Post-Graduate Internship award by the Eastman School of Music Arts Leadership Program. He currently resides in New York City where he assists with programming and media production at “The First Church of Jazz”, Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church.

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TUESDAY: June 6, 2017

Rick Stotijn

Rick Stotijn

Rick Stotijn, these days, is considered one of the most leading bass players in the world. He received his first lessons at the age of eight, studied at the Conservatory in Amsterdam with his father Peter Stotijn where he graduated with the highest distinction. Later on he studied with Bozo Paradzik at the Hochschule in Freiburg. Rick won several first prizes at a.o the Princess Christina petition, the Young Musical Talent Foundation and in 2013 the highest accolade awarded to a musician in the Netherlands, the Dutch Music Prize. The
Jury wrote: “Rick is a versatile musician with a moving musicality and a overwhelming virtuosity.”

Rick was principal double bass in the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra, Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Amsterdam Sinfonietta and is
currently principal in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. As guest principal, Rick plays regularly in the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra Mozart and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Rick is teaching at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and will be the new Professor Double Bass at the Robert Schumann Hochschule
Dusseldorf from September 2015. He performs on a Raffaele & Antonio Gagliano double bass, generously loaned by the National Musical Instrument Foundation.

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Larry Grenadier

Larry Grenadier

Larry Grenadier (born February 6, 1966 in San Francisco, California) is a jazz double bassist known for playing with an exceptionally fat tone.

His father, Albert, was a trumpet player, and his two brothers, Phil and Steve, would eventually play trumpet and guitar respectively. Grenadier too began on trumpet when he was 10 years old. His father taught him to read music and gave him his first lessons. A year afterward, when Larry Grenadier was eleven, he was given an electric bass guitar so that he and his brothers could play together as a band. He took a quick liking to the instrument, playing and practicing constantly. The three brothers performed current rock songs of the day at parties by learning the parts off of records. Larry’s older brother Phil began listening to jazz around this time, and slowly his listening habits filtered down to the younger brothers. Grenadier soon got hooked on jazz as well and began listening intently to jazz bassists like Ray Brown, Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers, Wilbur Ware and Oscar Pettiford.

Hearing legendary upright bassists inspired Grenadier to borrow an upright bass and try to emulate what he was hearing on records. By the time he was 12, Grenadier began formal study of the acoustic bass, studying with local jazz bass players Paul Breslin and Frank Tusa and later classical bassists Michael Burr and Steven Tromontozzi. At 16, Grenadier had a busy career playing in the San Francisco area with both local musicians and those traveling through town in need of a bass player. Some of these musicians included Harvey Wainapel, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Larry Vuckovitch, Eddie Henderson, Bruce Forman, Eddie Marshall, Vince Lateano, George Cables and Donald Bailey. Other visiting musicians Grenadier played with at this time were Toots Thielmans, Johnny Griffin, Charles McPherson, Anita O’Day, and Frank Morgan. Grenadier went on to study at Stanford University and graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. At Stanford, Grenadier got to know Stan Getz, who was the Artist in residence there at the time. He played with Getz often, as well as touring with Getz’s band.

WEDNESDAY: June 7, 2017

Alexandra Scott

Alexandra Scott

Born in Somerset, England, Alexandra Scott began her studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London. Later, whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music, she became a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, the Mahler Youth Orchestra and the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra. She completed her bachelor of music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with “First-Class Honours” under Rinat Ibragimov.

In 2005 Alexandra moved to Berlin where she held a scholarship from the Berlin Philharmonic Karajan Academy. Among her teachers at this time were Klaus Stoll, Janne Saksala and Esko Laine. At the age of 23 she was appointed Principal Double Bass with the NRD Radio Philharmonic in Hanover.

Alexandra is a dedicated chamber musician and appears regularly at leading international festivals in collaboration with artists such as Lisa Batiashvili, Gautier Capuçon, Reinhold Friedrich, Francois Leleux, Vilde Frang, Valeriy Sokolov, Eduard Brunner, Sergio Azzolini und Harriet Krijgh. She often plays with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Amsterdam Sinfonietta, and is a founding member of the period instrument ensemble, L’accademia giocosa.

Since May 2007, Alexandra holds the position of Sub-Principal Double Bass with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, with whom she played as a soloist under Maris Jansons in 2015.

Alexandra is also a passionate teacher. Since 2012 she has been Professor for Double Bass at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe. Alongside teaching the members of the Academy of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, she also coaches the Gustav Mahler Academy, the German Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

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François Rabbath

François Rabbath

Every now and then, just when you thought you had things all neatly arranged in their proper order, someone comes along and not only upsets everything you’ve done, but demands that you change your entire way of thinking before you can even begin to put them back together again. François Rabbath is one of those people.

The importance of François Rabbath to the development of double bass playing can be compared with that of Paganini to the violin. Since the early 1800s when Nicole Paganini established the violin as a virtuoso instrument, solo violinists have practiced the most brilliant of instrumental art. Meanwhile, the development of double bass playing had been seriously neglected. The great and popular 19th century composers did not consider the bass worth their attention and in turn the bass repertoire did not attract potential virtuoso performers with enough genius to change the situation. It demanded an artist with the unique qualities of François Rabbath to break this impasse.

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THURSDAY: June 8, 2017

Rex Surany

Rex Surany

Rex Surany is the new Principal bass of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He is also working as an assistant teacher in cooperation with Harold Robinson, the Principal Bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Juilliard School.

His musical education began with piano lessons when he was 7 years old. After two years of piano, he switched exclusively to double bass with Robert Peterson of Trenton, New Jersey. In 2002, upon completing the Vance repertoire with Peterson, Rex then started to study Rabbath Method with Nicholas Walker, double bass Professor at Ithaca college, and joined the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra under maestro Joseph Primavera’s direction.

Rex’s first year of college, in 2006, was spent at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. There he studied with David Moore and Paul Ellison. After a year, he was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where, in addition to studying double bass, he found and pursued interests in composing, transcribing, and arranging that continue today.

A few weeks after graduating from Curtis, in May 2012, Rex became a temporary member of the New York Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert as Music Director. While Rex was working at “The Phil”, he spent a lot of his relief and vacation time traveling to Berlin to study the Berlin Philharmonic tradition and German bow technique with Matthew McDonald and Janne Saksala; first principal basses. After two years of working in New York, studying in Berlin, and auditioning in North America, Europe, and even Scandanavia, Rex finally won his first audition for a section position at the Metropolitan Opera in 2014. And only one year later, he won the principal position.

Rex has won numerous accolades in both solo and orchestral bass realms. In June 2009, he was awarded 2nd prize of the ISB (International Society of Bassists) Orchestral Competition. The following summer, he was and the 3rd prize-winner of the 2010 Bradetich Foundation International Solo Competition. In 2011, Rex was the 2nd prize-winner at the ISB Solo competition. Rex has performed with many orchestras including: the Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Haddonfield “Symphony in C”, the Boston Symphony, the American Ballet Theatre, the New York Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan opera. He has given master classes and recitals at Ithaca College, Brigham Young University, and Fort Lewis College.

Christian McBride

Christian McBride

Four-time GRAMMY®-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride can be likened to a force of nature, fusing the fire and fury of a virtuoso with the depth and grounding of a seasoned journeyman. Powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s path has described a continuous positive arc since his arrival on the scene. With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today.

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FRIDAY: June 9, 2017

Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington

For over thirty years, Joel Quarrington has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, The Toronto Symphony and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and most recently, the famous London Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Toronto, Joel Quarrington began his formal studies of the double bass when he was thirteen. Upon graduation from the University of Toronto, he was awarded the “Eaton Scholarship” as the school’s most outstanding graduate. Joel is a winner of the Geneva International Competition and the CBC Talent Competition, and has made solo appearances across Canada, the United States, Europe and China.

Joel has made several solo recordings; in April 2010, his recording, “Garden Scene”, won the 2010 Juno Award for Best Classical Recording and in 2015 his “Brothers in Brahms” recording won the prestigious “Prix Opus” as the Outstanding Romantic Classical Recording of the year in Quebec.

In 2011, he received a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Solo Performance from the International Society of Bassists and in 2015 they awarded Joel the same award for Outstanding Orchestral Performance.

He performs on an Italian bass made in 1630 by the Italian master, Santo Paolo Maggini.

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Sebastien Dubé

Sebastien Dubé

Sébastien started to play oboe and drums at a young age in his parents orchestra but mostly concentrated on the double bass both jazz and classical when a little later he attended the conservatory in Québec. He then earned a master degree at USC. His main teachers were Luc Sévigny, Paul EllisonDennis TremblyJohn Clayton and Edwin Barker.

When he had completed his musical studies, Sébastien worked as a freelance musician in North America for two years with different orchestras: Los Angeles PhilharmonicHouston Symphony, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, before moving to Scandinavia. He was Assistant Principal Double Bass at the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (1993-1996), and Principal Double Bass of Norrlands Opera (1996-2000). In 2000 he took up the position of Solo double Bass with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He has also appeared as a soloist with some of these orchestras. He has worked with different types of music, mostly jazz, world, folk music and of course classical, parallel to his orchestra career through the years. He plays jazz in the Ivar Kolve Trio, Jonas Knutson Quartet, and with Maria Johansson among others. His folk music partners include the Ale Möller Band, Duo Nyckelharpa and Bass (Torbjörn Näsbom) and Stinnerbom-Stinnerbom-Dubé. In addition to this he organises concerts mixing different types of music and musicians together, including world music,classical, jazz, folk, sometimes even with symphony orchestras. Sébastien has also taught at the Domaine Forget Summer Festival in Québec, coached the Baltic Youth Philharmonic and also holds a positions on the faculties at theUniversity of Örebro and Ingesund Högskola.

photo credit: Knut Utler

SATURDAY: June 10, 2017

Matthew McDonald

Matthew McDonald

Originally from Australia, Matthew went to Berlin in 2000 as a student at the Karajan. Following this Matthew was assistant principal bass of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, principal bass of Ensemble Modern, principal bass of the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, principal bass of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and since 2009 principal bass of the Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). As guest Principal bass he has played with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Matthew has given masterclasses throughout Europe and Asia and has held summer courses in Orford, Canada and in Lisbon, Portugal. He has played chamber music with Leonidas Kavakos, Christian Tetzlaff, Pekka Kuusisto, Jack Liebeck, Brett Dean,  Nicolas Altstaedt, Alban Gerhardt, Julian Steckel, Adrian Brendel, Till Fellner, Imogen Cooper, Radovan Vlatkovic, Radek Barborak, Mark Padmore, the Kuss Quartet, Atos Piano Trio, Ensemble 360, London Bridge ensemble, Scharoun Ensemble, Berlin Philharmonic Octett. He is a regular guest at the Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music weeks and has performed at the Lucerne festival, Zagreb Festival, Winterfest, Winchester Festival, Music at Plush Festival, Matthew also enjoys playing solo recitals with the pianists Tomoko Takahashi and Yannick Rafalimanana.

Currently, Matthew isPrincipal Bass of the Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) and a professor of bass at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, teacher at the Karajan Academy, and visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music London.

Hear his interview on Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog

Mark Dresser

Mark Dresser

Mark Dresser is a Grammy nominated, internationally renowned bass player, improviser and composer.  At the core of his music is an artistic obsession and commitment to expanding the sonic, musical, and expressive possibilities of the contrabass.  He has recorded over one hundred thirty CDs including three solo CDs and a DVD.  From 1985 to 1994, he was a member of Anthony Braxton’s Quartet, which recorded nine CDs and was the subject of Graham Locke’s book Forces in Motion (Da Capo). He has also performed and recorded with Ray Anderson, Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Berne, Anthony Davis, Dave Douglas, Osvaldo Golijov, Gerry Hemingway, Bob Osertag, Lei Liang, Joe Lovano, Roger Reynolds, Henry Threadgill, Dawn Upshaw, John Zorn and many others. Dresser most recent and acclaimed recording , Mark Dresser Seven -Sedimental You, his latest CD (Clean Feed-2016). Since 2007 he has been deeply involved in telematic music performance and education.   In 2013 Dresser and his University of California colleagues collaborated with like-minded and renowned improvisers in three different cities and spread across the West  Coast,  East Coast and Europe on The Virtual Tour: A Reduced-Carbon Footprint Concert Series. He is a recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award. He is Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego.  

www.mark-dresser.com