We’ve had the great fortune to feature several bassists from the Chicago Symphony over the years on Contrabass Conversations. When they aren’t using the worst stools ever made (actually, the don’t use these anymore!), they’re busy being members of one of the greatest orchestras in the world, and I’m honored that all of these fine individuals were willing to volunteer their time to make an appearance on Contrabass Conversations.
One of the things I most enjoy about the podcasting medium is how you start to develop a vast archive of material over the years, and I really think that being able to learn about this great instrument and art form from these great players has resounding implications for music performance and education. So come along with me, if you will, and take a journey into the world of the Chicago Symphony through the perspective of these four great players….
Michael has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1989, and he serves as the president of Discordia Music (double bass music publisher). Michael also plays for the Gunnelpumpers, Chicago Bass Ensemble, Music of the Baroque, and the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra. He authors the popular Bass Blog, and he has served on the faculty for Northwestern University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Michael was also my bass teacher at Northwestern University for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. He’s a great player and a great teacher as well!
Brad Opland began his musical studies early and by age ten knew he wanted a career in a symphony orchestra. After graduating from high school a year early, he moved to Philadelphia to continue his musical studies at The Curtis Institute of Music. One year later, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski appointed Mr. Opland to the bass section of the Minnesota Orchestra at the age of eighteen, one of the youngest musicians ever hired. Mr. Opland stayed in Minnesota through the Neville Mariner years, moving to Chicago in 1984 after Maestro Solti offered him a position in the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Opland has been a member of The Chicago Chamber Musicians since 1992.
Robert Kassinger was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1993. Prior to Chicago, Rob performed as assistant principal bass with the Colorado Symphony and also played with the New Orleans Symphony. He performs with the Revolution Ensemble, the Orion Ensemble, Fulcrum Point, Ars Viva, Music of the Baroque, the Callisto Ensemble, MusicNOW, and broadcasts on WFMT and WTTW. Most recently he has been a featured guest with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and has performed Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Daniel Barenboim. In July 2006, Rob served as double bass professor at the Canton International Summer Music Academy, led by Charles Dutoit.
Dan hasn’t done an interview for Contrabass Conversations (yet!), but we’ve featured him several times long with the highly creative Jason Seed Elixir Ensemble. Check it out if you haven’t yet, and also check out the copy of Dan’s beautiful bass being built by the Chicago School of Violin Making.