Know Your ISB: What is the job of the Artistic Director of the ISB Convention? Part I

Convention Scheduling Team:

One of the roles of the ISB Convention Artistic Director is to assembling the team of people who put together the ISB convention program. The Convention Scheduling Team approaches headliners and reviews all of the convention proposals to decide which performances, workshops, master classes, and special events will be featured at the convention. Our goal is to reflect the ISB mission, membership constituency, the location of the event, and the diverse values of the team.

Headliners: These are the folks playing the evening performances. We always open the convention with the competition winners from the Solo and Jazz categories, and then look for Headliners for the Tuesday – Saturday night concerts. We look for different genres of music, styles of playing, and for a variety of approaches to music. We seek to include people of different countries, ages, genders, ethnicities, and musical experiences, each carrying special treasures from their unique lives and communities. The goal with these evening concerts is for us to all be together in one room, and share our love of the bass – to enrich our awareness of the bass world through exposure to these artists in a shared experience.

Dave Holland

Some of the headliners are on the “dream list” – big names in the bass world we long to hear in a live setting. Others are little known “gems” offering a special sound or approach- folks who are ready to “break through” as ISB household names. Much depends on who is available; June can be a very busy touring time and a lot of folks are on the road. Much also depends on the Convention Scheduling Team working together to arrive at a unified vision over the course of the week.



Victor Wooten

How much money do we pay the headliners? $0. Like everyone else you see at the convention, our headliners perform without payment. Remember that no one receives payment; all our organizers, presenters, board members, and volunteers are sharing our time and energy without receiving an appearance fee or any other kickbacks. As bassists, this is how we give back to this organization. That’s something to think about when you’re at the convention rubbing elbows with our heroes: that’s how much the ISB means to these organizers, headliners, and presenters. That’s how much we all love the bass and our fellow bass family!

Joel Quarrington

Convention Presenters: The rest of the convention schedule is assembled based on the presentation proposals submitted over the summer. Many of our ISB Artistic Directors feel this provides the most exciting and excruciating work in convention planning, and I can see why.

In the early autumn I assembled an international team of ISB members to recruit headliners and undertake the daunting task of reviewing over 250 applications to present at the convention. With so many worthy and compelling submissions, the selection process was not easy for any of us. Reading hundreds of proposals and listening to the supporting recordings and videos is an amazing and humbling experience. We have so much talent, and so many members operating at a very high level!

In fact it feels to me like the level of musicianship, programming, and creative ideas keeps rising. I want to find a spot for everyone, but it is just impossible – over-scheduling a convention is as bad as under-scheduling it; an over scheduled event leaves presentations and concerts empty and our members stretched too thin.

Our committee worked hard to balance a convention program that showcases our diverse ISB membership interests, enriching convention traditions, and to showcase new faces & initiatives. We feel like we have come up with a tremendous lineup for the week.

Szymon Marciniak


ISB 2017 Convention Chair

Nicholas is the President of the ISB, and is an Associate Professor of Music at Ithaca College.