We’re wrapping up the interview with Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Bassist Jeff Turner that we began on episode 26 of the podcast, plus featuring music from U.K.-based bassist Leon Bosch’s new album titled The British Double Bass on this week’s episode of the podcast.
We also feature bass news, listener feedback, shout-outs to members of the Facebook group, and a link of the week. Enjoy!
About Jeff Turner:
Principal Bass Jeffrey Turner joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1987. He served as Principal Bass of the New American Chamber Orchestra from 1984 to 1986 and became a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1986. Mr. Turner, a native of South Carolina, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. His teachers include James VanDemark, Lawrence Hurst and Robert Gladstone.
Mr. Turner serves on the faculties of Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University. He is the Artistic Director of the City Music Center’s Young Bassist Program, and gives annual seminars and master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the world. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music and Lecturer at the University of Maryland.
Mr. Turner has been a resident artist for many annual festivals including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the Korsholm Festival in Finland. He has been featured as a presenter at the conventions of The International Society of Bassists, and has served on the faculty of The Asian Youth Orchestra (Hong Kong) under the direction of Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Mr. Turner is a faculty member of the National Orchestral Institute. As winner of the Y Music Society’s Passamaneck Award, Jeffrey Turner appeared in a critically acclaimed recital at Carnegie Music Hall in 1989. He was also a winner of the 1990 Pittsburgh Concert Society’s Artist Award.
About Leon Bosch:
Leon had to overcome many difficult circumstances in the early years of his career. He was arrested by members of the Cape Town special branch when he was just 15 years old for demonstrating against the Apartheid government outside of parliament. He faced a month’s detention and torture, only to be found not guilty on all charges. This experience fired up his ambition to become a lawyer, but this field of study was forbidden to him by the regime at the time. He then chose to study a subject that would be the least likely to mark him out as subversive – music. Had Bosch been able to pursue his prime aspiration to become a lawyer, the cello/double bass debate might never have occurred. Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1961, Bosch was forbidden by the repressive regime of the time to study law, so applied to the University’s music faculty instead `as a light-hearted prank.’ The `prank’ soon turned more serious. Once enrolled at the University, Bosch studied with Zoltan Kovats, principal double bassist of the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra at that time. A single year into his studies, the young student was invited to play in the Symphony Orchestra’s bass section alongside his mentor.
Only another 12 months passed before he was giving his first solo performance of Dittersdorf ’s concerto in E major. Completing his Batchelor of Music Performance degree at the University, he received the highest mark ever awarded there in a performance examination. Post-university, Bosch quickly realised that he would have to study abroad if he really wanted to further his performance career, but was thwarted once again by the apartheid laws which decreed that overseas scholarships could only be given to white performers. However, Bosch was undeterred. `I had a passionate commitment to the double bass and never enter- tained the idea that I would fail in my pursuit’, he asserts. Fortunately, a number of private individuals came forward to sponsor his travel to England where he was heard playing by Rodney Slatford, the former Head of School of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), who offered to teach him. Bosch enrolled at the RNCM following a successful interview with Eleanor Warren to study with Slatford and Duncan McTier. He describes his time at RNCM as `extremely fruitful’. Bosch’s prestigious record of achievements also continued there, as he received the College’s PPRNCM (Professional Performer of the RNCM) with distinction, the first such award to a double bassist in the College’s history.
Studies completed, Bosch embarked on the varied professional orchestral and chamber career that continues to this day. His first assignment was with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, moving onto The Manchester Camerata as principal in 1985. His playing career has also taken in the BBC Philharmonic, Hall, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North and Scottish Chamber orchestras, plus the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Brodsky Quartet and Goldberg Ensemble as a freelance performer, a career path that he chose to `give me greater variety in my playing.’ A decade after his first principal appointment, Bosch began his current association with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, touring with the orchestra’s founder, Sir Neville Marriner. `Chamber music represents the most enjoyable part of my musical life,’ he enthuses, explaining why he has focused on this area through most of his professional career – which has taken in almost all of the major chamber orchestras in the UK.