Most musicians don’t have a day dedicated to them in their hometown.
Shinji Eshima does. In 2011, the city of Berkeley, California named the day December 6th Shinji Eshima Day, in his honor for his contributions to the arts.
Even fewer musicians play an instrument featured in a Degas painting.
But Shinji Eshima does. His Plumerel bass is the very same instrument painted by Degas in L’Orchestre de l’Opera.
Shinji’s impact on the double bass world has been tremendous. He has performed with the San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Opera Orchestras for decades.
He teaches at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His students have gone on to perform with the San Francisco Symphony, Utah Symphony, London Philharmonia, Montreal Symphony and the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam
But Shinji is also a composer… and what a composer!
In 2011, the San Francisco Ballet commissioned him to write a ballet. RAkU was the result, and it has been performed across the globe by the San Francisco Ballet. RAkU has also joined the repertoire of The Joffrey Ballet. Swimmer, his third ballet for the San Francisco Ballet, premiered in 2015.
We talk about Shinji’s early years on the instrument, studying with David Walter, performing in the pit, getting into composing, and much more!
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Links to check out
San Francisco Ballet in RAkU (YouTube)
RAkU: A Conversation with Shinji Eshima (YouTube)
Thanks to our sponsor!
This episode is brought to you by D’Addario Strings! Check out their Zyex strings, which are synthetic core strings that produce an extremely warm, rich sound. Get the sound and feel of gut strings with more evenness, projection and stability than real gut.
Listener feedback links:
- Ray Parker – bassist
- Ira Gold’s new project on mockauditions.com
- Jason’s appearance on The Entrepreneurial Musician
- Jason’s appearance on A Musical Life