College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

Classical Bass


The mission of the CU Double Bass Program is to help our students become double bassists of the highest caliber.  We help our students develop the kinds of musical skills they need so that they can succeed in careers as professional double bass players and teachers.  The process of developing ones fullest potential as musicians and double bassists is always our guiding principle.

Classical double bass studies students develop a broad range of skills that help them to:

1. Play with physical ease and freedom of motion, free of tension and pain in shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands

2. Produce a rich bowed bass sound using arm weight and a relaxed shoulder

3. Play well in tune

4. Play with strong and steady rhythm

5. Practice in a logical and efficient manner

6. Use their own creative musical imagination to bring music to life

7. Master double bass solo repertoire and standard orchestral excerpts

8. Become good teachers who understand the mechanics of good double bass playing

9. Reach a high level of technical mastery that makes our students competitive with those graduating from other leading music schools around the country

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:  CU double bass students benefit from a spirit of camaraderie that creates a positive atmosphere in which to work.  Students push each other to reach their fullest potential.

WEEKLY BASS HAPPENINGS: Weekly classical instruction includes private bass lessons, bass performance classes.  In addition, students participate in bass ensembles and mock orchestra auditions.  These work together to help our bassists progress rapidly toward musical excellence.

GUEST MASTER CLASSES:  Leading double bassists from around the world are welcomed to the College of Music throughout the school year to give master classes for our double bass students.  Getting to know these leaders in the field and taking lessons with them greatly broadens our students’ horizons and gives them valuable professional connections around the world.  Guest Artists during the past several years have included:Thierry Barbé (Paris Opera principal bass, Paris Conservatory),  Kathy Bennett (Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, London),  Tom Brennand (Metropolitan Opera bass section, Orchestra personnel manager),  Luis Cojal(Vila Seca and Barcelona Music Conservatories, Spain),  Karl Fenner (Colorado Symphony),  Ira Gold(National Symphony, Peabody Conservatory),  Travis Gore (Seattle Symphony),  Eric Hansen (Brigham Young University),  Lynda Houghten (Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, London),  Robert Kassinger (Chicago Symphony, DePaul University),  Albert Laszlo (Juilliard, Cincinnati Conservatory, Aspen Music Festival), Edgar Meyer,  Nick Recuber (Colorado Symphony, Assistant Principal Bass),  Malachy Robinson (Irish Chamber Orchestra, Dublin),  David Whitla (Irish Chamber Orchestra, Dublin),  Victor Wooten

PERFORMING IN THE COLLEGE OF MUSIC:  Double bass players perform in various College of Music large ensembles, including the University Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, Campus String Orchestra, Early (Baroque) Music Ensemble, Jazz Ensembles, African Ensemble.  Smaller ensembles include Bass Ensemble, chamber music groups coached by CU string faculty members, and Jazz Combos.  The double bass studio performs class recitals off campus in retirement communities.

PROFESSIONAL PERFORMING OUTSIDE THE COLLEGE OF MUSIC:  There are many performance opportunities in the musical community outside of the College of Music for both classical and jazz bass players.  CU double bass players perform as members of regional semi-professional orchestras in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley, Cheyenne WY, and the Colorado Symphony in Denver.  Jazz players gig throughout the metro Denver area.

THE BUSINESS SIDE OF MUSIC:  A valuable resource available to all our music students is the College of Music Entrepreneurship Center for Music.  The ECM offers classes and workshops that teach students the business side of music and how to create opportunities for themselves as they make a career in music as professional musicians.


Paul Erhard performing Bottesini's "Tarantella"

Wednesday 11/13

Paul Erhard performing Bottesini's "Tarantella" at BASS 2010 in Berlin.  Special thanks to Ralph & Michael Kramer of Poellman Basses for lending this fine bass during BASS 2010.