ALDEN COHEN

Oakland, CA - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I’ve been playing the double bass for 22 years. My musical career in the SF Bay Area started after advancing to the finals for the San Francisco Symphony Double Bass Substitute List auditions in 2003 and 2005.

 

Auditions I’ve won and currently hold contract positions with are: Santa Cruz Symphony (Principal) Oakland Symphony (Assistant Principal) Berkeley Symphony Monterey Symphony.

 

My passion for playing music started with wanting to learn the soundtrack music to movies I grew up watching. I’ve had the pleasure of recording top leading video games, performing in the Game of Thrones tour, performing live Orchestra and Film shows as well as on stage with major bands like “The Who.”

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I play an unmarked early 1900’s Italian Bass and a 2000 Reid Hudson Bow.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I’ve created many arrangements of pop, video game, movie and classical music for two Basses. My most recent video is the Theme to Legend of Zelda - https://youtu.be/E2JGlsmBItk

Photo by Kevin Monahan

ANDY BLOOR

Derby, United Kingdom

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I started playing at around 8 years old when the school music teacher held up a bass in assembly and asked who would like a go at learning it. I said I quite liked the look of it and the rest is history. I studied Music at University, but now work as an academic and only play as an amateur. I’m lucky enough to play with a phenomenal local amateur orchestra (Nottingham Philharmonic) and am constantly amazed they let me in!

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

My bass is a factory made German bass from around 1870. I use the French style of bow and had it locally made when I lived in Kent in the south east of England.

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I worked on the Dvorak project (and thank whomever has the task of editing it. I only hope they had auto-tune!)

CHRISTIE ECHOLS

West Hartford, CT - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

Christie Echols is a double bassist, electric bassist, composer, and singer specializing in contemporary music and extended technique while remaining active in the worlds of orchestral, chamber, musical theater, and jazz performance. Christie has commissioned, premiered, and written new works for double bass and voice and is passionate about new music; her performance of Caroline Louise Miller’s “Hydra Nightingale” for solo bass was featured at the 2019 International Society of Bassists Convention. Appearing regularly as bassist with ensembles, bands, and jazz combos, Christie has performed with the Amarillo Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony, Jim Laughlin Quartet, Austin Brazille Jazz Trio, and Foot in the Door Ensemble. In 2016, Echols won the Ernst Bacon Memorial Prize performing Libby Larson’s “Four on the Floor” for piano quartet; as a member of 208 Ensemble, Echols was featured at Treefort Music Fest performing Missy Mazzoli’s “Magic for Everyday Objects.” Echols received her Bachelor of Music in Performance from West Texas A&M University studying under Dr. Nicolas Scales. As an undergraduate she was awarded the Paul Tillotson Jazz Scholarship and the Idaho Jazz Society’s Rachael Loehr Friesen Award. As a bassist, her summer festival experience includes work with Gary Karr (Karr Kamp) and Andy Butler (Sun Valley Summer Symphony); as composer she has attended Wintergreen Summer Music Festival. She received her Master of Music from The Hartt School in May of this year and is currently working on her Artist Diploma in composition. She is a student of Robert Black and Gilda Lyons.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

2014 Upton Bass Brescian Solid Wood Flat Back, Travel Neck with C extension. Samuel Kolstein French Bow, Pernambuco.

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

Follow me on instagram (@queen_bassist) to view my improvisation videos. Additionally, I have been working with the Itty Bitty Bassist Committee (@ittybittybassist) to bring awareness to bass players of all body sizes. I am also proud to be apart of the Virtual Bass Ensemble team by running the composition side of our ensemble.

GABRIEL MONTICELLO

Atlanta, GA - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I started playing the upright bass in 1995. I had played bass guitar for a few years and was in a progressive rock band. The guitar teacher at Valdosta State University had heard us and convinced our guitarist to enrol. Watching his rapid progression, I knew that this was the step I needed to take. I had one problem. I didn't read music or play the upright bass. I bought a beat up used bass and proceeded to learn as much as I could. My audition can best be described as a comedy of errors. Fortunately, VSU had to pad the rolls and allowed me in on a probationary status. "Understand that we reserve the right to kick you out at any time, and we probably will" the department head informed me. "That's alright", I replied, "If you kick me out after six months, I will be six months better than I am today". I refused to let them kick me out.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I own a Kolstein Fendt double bass which I named Frank. The maker of my bow is unknown. I bought it because I love the way it feels in my hand. It is a German style bow and has a treble clef inlay on the frog.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

Where do I start? I revamped my webpage www.GabrielMonticello.com . I have recorded two albums worth of material for the Russian rock band, space mirrors as well as finished production on one album and started recording a second album for the US and UK based rock band Bridget Wishart and the Band Of DoctorsI have also done some video recording for the Savannah Philharmonic and several for the Virtual Bass Ensemble. I continue to teach virtual lessons and The Atlanta Chamber Music Festival ran a virtual camp this year.

 

On a non-musical level, my wife and I adopted a special needs dog, a German Shepherd mix named Amelia. I also am working on a halloween yard display that will be quite impressive 😉 Even when things "slow down", there are simply not enough hours in the day.

JAKOB GRÜTER

The Hague - The Netherlands

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

Exactly 10 years now. I am not a professional bass player. Playing bass is for me something I do with great love and passion, especially playing in orchestras, still it is a hobby, at the end. I got first attracted to the bass when the orchestra at my High School was looking for a new bass player, offering lessons, too. However, I could not convince my parents. A few months later I was playing with a chamber orchestra in concert - my second/first instrument is the flute. Afterwards the orchestra came together for celebrating the concerts we had played. The wife of our principle violinist told us that she found it a lovely concert but missed the deep sounds - the orchestra had noone playing bass. On the way home I discussed it again with my mother - a few weeks later I had my first lesson. I only had a few weeks of lesson when I was first asked by an orchestra to join - not even half a year after my first lesson I played the first time in concert with the bass. It was a catastrophe, at least from my perspective. However, playing bass developed to a very big passion. 3 years later I had my first concert with a big symphonic orchestra playing Mahler 4th symphonie - I had a hard fight maintaining the quality required in this orchestra. During my studies I intensified playing on the bass and switched to a 5-string bass. And playing in symphonic orchestra developed to a central part of my life.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I play a 5 string bass from Rubner about 60 years old. It is a 4/4 bass, about 2m from pin to top. I gave him a name, too: Elias. I have two bows, one from Egidius Dörflein, the other is a Pfretzschner bow. Both are German bows, I also use the german way of holding the bow

Photo by Veerle Bastiaanssen

KIRBY KARPAN

Juneau, AK - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I've been playing the bass for 14 years, since fifth grade when my school orchestra started up. My favorite animal was a whale, and I (rightly) figured that the bass was the coolest instrument since it looked like it could make some sweet whale noises.

 

Since then, music has been an important hobby and something that I can fall back onto for comfort. I played in community orchestras in small-town Minnesota, and then kept playing at DePaul University in Chicago, and now I'm a thankful member of the Juneau Symphony here in Alaska. Although I didn't make music my career, it is still a very important part of my life and a welcome recluse.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I use a carved Chinese Shen bass and a nameless, but very swell, French bow.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

Not related to music, but I've been studying physics in my ample pandemic free-time. Something fun to keep my mind occupied & learn more about the nature of space and time.

LEWIS BRAHAM

Basildon, Essex - UK

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I have been playing the double bass for eleven years now, originally starting as a violinist at the age of six. I studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Tony Hougham. I have performed with the English National Ballet Philharmonic, London Concert Orchestra, Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilderness Orchestra, Kaleidoscope Orchestra, Aurelian Symphony Orchestra and been a backing Musician on the X Factor. I was selected to record the Double Bass backing tracks for the ABRSM’s new Initial Double Bass Exam Pack for 2020 – 2023 which was is designed to help beginners measure their progress and celebrate their achievements. As well as performing I hold many teaching posts around the country including; Visiting Teacher of Double Bass at the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge; St John’s College School in Cambridge; Brentwood Senior and Prep Schools; Double Bass Tutor for Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, Instrumental Teacher for Thurrock Music Services and I also teach privately. I also conduct various orchestras and string orchestras including Thurrock Youth Orchestra, Thurrock Youth Training Orchestra, Thurrock Beginner Strings, SCYM Intermediate Strings and SCYM Junior Strings.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I own a full size Hungarian double bass which I purchased from a colleague Ken Knussen, he used it as his second bass for many years. It is an amazing deep rich sound and I am very lucky to own such a beautiful instruments. I am very lucky to own a beautiful Reid Hudson bow.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I have been recording with the Kaleidoscope Orchestra during lockdown and as many other lockdown orchestra projects as I can to keep me playing. I also have been recording the ABRSM double bass exam pieces with an adult student who has kindly recorded all the piano parts for me.

NAJ QURESHI

Ashburn, VA - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I have been playing for 27 years. I started off on violin, but was terrible at it. I had huge hands even as a kid. I was ready to quit music all together when my orchestra teacher suggest I try the bass, and that it could be a better fit. I instantly fell in love and within 2 years I was holding my own with seniors in high school! I studied with Jim Donahue before college. I majored in Bass performance at Shenandoah, studying with Bill Hones. I went away from music for a while to get a job, but picked it back up and took off running! Been studying with Paul DeNola to get my chops back. I also decided to start Ottava Imports, importing modern Italian Instruments for sale in the US.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I have a house full of basses that I get to play with all the time! My personal instrument is personally commissioned Luciano Golia Bass (2017) Named "Il Guisto". I also have a German Bow from Juliano Oliveira.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

Lots of practicing is being done during quarantine! I have put out a few Quartets that I recorded myself and was lucky enough to have Rob put them together for me!

MICHELE STRONG

Northern Ireland

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I was born and grew up in Australia where I started playing the cello in primary school, mainly because both my parents were professional cellists, but I gradually started to notice the bass and that it looked like much more fun than the cello, so when I left school I changed to the bass and soon found out that I was right! After a couple of years’ studying in Sydney I got a scholarship to study in London and ended up staying in the UK... eventually getting a job in the Ulster Orchestra, Belfast!

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

A very ordinary old German instrument and unremarkable french bow!

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I’ve been making a few videos (along with others from the orchestra) for the pupils at some local primary schools where we were teaching before the quarantine. Also doing quite a bit of online teaching.

ROOS SADRAEE

Utrecht - The Netherlands

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

It was open house at the music school in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. Me and my mom were walking past kids trying all kinds of instruments, I was interested in none of them. Until I saw the cello. I was in love! I played the cello for 4 years, but when I became 11 I asked my mom if I could play double bass. I am the fourth bassist in the family, I've been playing it for 12 years now, and I just learned the reason why I didn't choose the bass at that day. The bass teacher wasn't there!

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I use a very simple bass, still my first! The bow I use is a bow that I kinda stole from my youth orchestra (shhh that's a secret).

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I'm not in quarantine, so my project is in real life, lucky me! We are playing Mahler the 4th, it's amazing to play again :)

Photo by Kaka Lee

KAI JACK

Jerusalem - Israel

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I wanted to impress a girl when I was 16 so I started taking guitar lessons. Little did I know that my guitar teacher was actually a double bassist and was planning to recruit me to a local youth orchestra that he conducted in rural Norway. The day after he gave me my first bass lesson I forgot about the guitar and I forgot about the girl I wanted to impress. I have been playing for about 10 years now. When I was 18 I attended a one year pre-college music year at Ingesunds Folkhögskola in Sweden. Later on I did my classical performance Bachelor's degree in Gothenburg Sweden, did an Erasmus exchange in Italy, and I am now doing a contemporary performance Master's degree in Jerusalem, Israel. I love playing in orchestra, solos, chamber music (particularly contemporary works!) but my biggest passion is teaching. This passion was ignited when I got to work with an El Sistema-style orchestra in Gothenburg focused on teaching music to refugee youth. I experienced how music could actually CHANGE a human being's life! Through this same experience I found an excitement for music that I had been missing previously. Now my goal is to start an El Sistema inspired youth orchestra here in Jerusalem where I live.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I play on an 8 year old Chinese bass I bought in Oslo, Norway that sounds better and better every year, or maybe I'm the one improving... My bow says A. Eastman on the stick. I got it from Bob's House of Bass in Washington DC.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

Gathering local bassists to make online videos like this one. Basically a mini VBE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npaA_xMeLxE&list=PL_scYtCoDAaLDZr3txsigVRPGxHIZxJfG&index=5&t=0s

MARÍA INÉS ROJAS

Valencia, Spain

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I started my double bass studies specialising in tango music. Working for tango shows, I got the blessed chance to see the world pretty much all around, and decided to settle in Valencia. I have also specialised in children education and Suzuki Method and nowadays I mostly focus in teaching little children to play the bass and enjoy the ride of looking for the best version of themselves.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I use French bow, still use my student bass and also my lovely Jorge and Thomas Martin Concerto Bass.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I've done an online course about Soundcool which is platform made for collaborating projects which I hope to be able to use with my students. This was my practice with the platform, a little composition of my own, based on a text written by J.J. Benitez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf97wnMKYJw&t=24s

SEVERIANO PAOLI

Groningen, The Netherlands

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I have been playing bass for the last 13 years, and music in general for about 25. I started with playing the guitar as a child, and done it for many years until in 2007 I fell in love with our instrument, and decided to enroll at the Istituto Musicale Boccherini in Lucca (Italy), where I graduated under the guidance of Gabriele Ragghianti. After that I've moved to the Netherlands, where I've studied Early Music, which has thereafter become my main job. Right now I'm the bass player in Nathalie Stutzmann's baroque ensemble, and I freelance with groups and orchestras inside and outside of Europe.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I own a late XIX century unknown Tyrolean bass fit with gut strings, a 5 stringer with gut strings in Viennese tuning, another 5 stringer which I use for modern music and a G violone. I've got quite a lot of bows, including 3 Dragonetti bows from Marco Pasquino, a modern German bow by Paola Brancato, and original early XX century "village" German bow, and others.

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

This last period I've been working as organiser and curator for a contemporary music project for G violone, which has involved 4 composers from all over the world and is going to be published before the end of the summer. I've also been consultant for a book about the history of the double bass, which will be published in Korea this winter; next to it, I'm working right now on a book of etudes I'm planning to bring out next year. For the rest, practicing new repertoire and discovering new gems from the past!

TAL GOOD

Massachusetts - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I started bass guitar 22 years ago. I always wanted an upright, but never got one until after college.

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I have two German plywoods from the 40s and 50s, which I lovingly named Old Stinky and Frankenbass' Monster. I also have a Kay bass from the 1930s that someone painted black, named Morticia. A couple German bows.

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

A pirate/Irish band I'm in is doing videos for a digital renaissance fairs. We are calling ourselves the Roving Corsairs. And a friend of mine and me started dressing up and doing videos of songs from video games, cartoons, and shows we like. We call that group Grizzly Bunny.

YOSHI HORIGUCHI

Baltimore, MD - USA

How long have you been playing? Tell us about how you got started/your background in playing.

I've been playing for 19 years. I started in my middle school orchestra and jazz band programs and finally got my own bass to practice with at home and private lessons in 10th grade. I auditioned for MD all state orchestra in 11th grade, got 1st chair, and got a scholarship to go to college despite living below the poverty line and having family/foster care issues during that time. Bass got me through the tough times and I'm grateful to live the life I'm living!

 

What kind of bass/basses and bows do you use?

I have 2 basses: Josephine is a 2004 Eastman v605 model bass and Robert is a 2014 bass made by Tom Wolf. 

 

Do you have a quarantine project you are working on?

I've been doing Livestream recitals a lot on FB and IG (@basshoriguchi). I've also done a lot of arranging for my students and have taken part in numerous quarantine recording projects.

©2020 Virtual Bass Ensemble