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How many of you are symphony bassists?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by FunkySpoo, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Just curious. Actually jealous. In my next life or if I had it to do all over again I would have loved to have been in a symphony.

    BTW, if this is in the wrong forum feel free to move it
  2. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    I was in various symphonic organizations years ago, but I was forced to use borrowed equipment all the time and once I got out of school, there went the equipment. I'd do it again if the circumstances in my life led me to do so. It's very challenging.
  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I have played with a few symphonies professionally...As soon as my wife decides to let me out on monday nights i'm going to start playing in another one.

    It is great fun.
  4. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I'm not yet, but I want to be one too with my local symphony one day.

    I'm an adult beginner with the bass, and my music background and knowledge is rather humble. But everyone's gotta start somewhere, and the bass/bow combo is capable of generating awesome music both in an orchestra and as a solo instrument. I'll be able to get what I need either way, and if I get both ways one day I won't complain.

    If you're interested, you should also look into the community orchestras. That's what I'd be trying to do right now if I was close enough to the larger cities.
  5. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I'm not one, but I play one on tv.

    Actually, I play in a pretty big community symphonic orchestra that practices and does concerts in the spring. It is good for my reading and arco chops. I almost quit trying to get through the 3rd Mvmt. of Beethoven's 5th this season though.

  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I do a bit of it. Doing one tonight, as a matter of fact.
  7. SleeperMan2000


    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    I thought you were strictly a jazzer. Is there an orchestra on Maui? I only ask because I spent six months there and don't recall.
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    There used to be, it's pretty much gone buns up. These are privately contracted gigs for big corporations that want some orchestral music, usually under the stars kinda thing. I do maybe 8-10 a year. Last night's was in Kapalua, but a lot of them are over on the island of Lana'i.
  9. Well, Marcus
    You cover plenty of acres ( both dry & wet ) all by yourself.
    No need for rivals in Hawai, I quess?
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    There are lots of great bassists here, on all of the islands. And it seems more are picking up DBs on a daily basis.
  11. That´s always good news, man. Every time somebody picks up a DB, we can consider it a soul saved.
    Maybe it´s because
    you´ve been flashing that La Scala...

  12. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I've been playing in a community college symphoney orchestra since last September. Passed a fairly easy audition and just went for it. It has really helped my reading and bowing. No, I can't play everything perfectly but with a strong section leader I get through. Not easy stuff either -- a lot of romantic period pieces with complex rhythms. Really fast phrases as well. My biggest challenge this year. Not an experienced upright player. Have only been playing a little over two years. Balance this out with a good jazz swing band.
  13. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    I spent a lot of time in symphony settings attached to the schools I was in. My most exciting playing experiences were all with my chamber or symphony groups.

    Now that I think about it... maybe it's even a little ironic that I took more satisfaction as a single player amid 80 others than I have in trio groups?

    There are probably community ensembles near your home that you could join. Usually some very neat people to meet, too.
  14. dblbassmike


    Apr 14, 2002
    Detroit, MI
    I am in a symphony. I am the principal bassist of lake st clare symphony in michigan.
  15. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    I used to be the principal bassist of my community orchestra, but I gave it up when I started doing the family thang. Y'see, orchestras actually rehearse. Sometimes several times for one concert!

    Aside from the logistics, I actually loved playing orchestral music. Depending upon the piece, it requires so much focus and it can be an incredible experience when the group is playing well and all the pistons are firing. When the kids are more self-sufficient in a couple of years, I plan to rejoin the orch, if they'll have me (I'd be more than happy to sit at the end of the section).
  16. SleeperMan2000


    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    There are quite a few community orchestras around here, 7 that I can think of. I'm in North Carolina near Raleigh and there's one at each major college. (UNC, NC State, Duke, Meredith) + Durham Symphony Orchestra, Chapel Hill Symphonium, and Raleigh Symphony Orchestra.

    I'm wondering how proficient of a bassist one should be before auditioning. I've had 2 years of lessons with the 2nd chair bassist on the NC Symphony. I started off as an adult beginner, now I can play ok, but I still hit a lot of clams. Made it about halfway through Simandl. I slacked off on the lessons a month ago in lieu of a lot of other opportunites to play swing, jazz, etc. in various ensembles. Much more fun that bowing at home alone.

    That being said, I think being on a community orchestra would be a lot of fun and I love the music, but I'm worried I'm not good enough. But you would think with that many orchestras around here they'd need some extra basses!

    So how tolerant are community orchestras in general to adult beginners?
  17. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Where I live, not very, apparently. Though I wasn’t in it at the time, there was a little brough-ha-ha in the orchestra I was mentioning. Seems the conductor had delusions of grandeur and was insisting on a larger and larger number of “ringers” for each concert, much to the annoyance of the dedicated volunteer members (okay, they get paid a pittance). Finally, the conductor sent a letter to some of the volunteer members telling them to shape up or ship out (these were folks who hadn’t missed a rehearsal in 15 years).

    They promptly shipped out. About that time, a community orchestra was formed at the local college and its numbers suddenly increased. The aforemented conductor got a lot of bad press and sent out subsequent apology letters, but by that time the feelings were too hard.
  18. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
  19. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
  20. I'm a member of The Claflin Hill Symphony, Worcester Symphony, both in Massachusetts, and on the sublist for The Rhode Island Philharmonic. Although I primarily play orchestral music, I also freelance throughout the New England area, in swing, jazz, and musical venues. I find orchestral playing exciting, challenging, & rewarding for two reasons. The first is the music itself, which IMO, is the greatest in the world, but also the unique opportunity, at least for bassist, to play in a section on a regular basis. To work at blending your sound with other bassists to produce a unified, solid, sound of "one" is rewarding. I also like the opportunity to meet, & work along side other bassists. IMO, every double bassist should try orchestral playing, be it in a college, community orchestras, etc, at least once. I tell all my students, it will undoubtly raise their level of playing to new heights. Besides, it's FUN!



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