CBC 75: Dave Anderson interview

We’re featuring the multi-talented bassist Dave Anderson on this week’s episode of Contrabass Conversations. In addition to serving as Principal Bass of the Louisiana Philharmonic, Dave is a prolific composer, active teacher, and electric bassist. He serves as Principal Bass of the Britt Festival Orchestra in southern Oregon, and he plays in metropolitan New Orleans and beyond in a variety of bands.

Dave’s compositions span the gamut from solo double bass to full symphony orchestra, and his Concerto for Double Bass was commissioned and premiered by Hal Robinson and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is a former board member of the International Society of Bassists, and his Capriccio No. 2 served as the required solo competition piece at the 1997 ISB convention. Check out Dave online at www.myspace.com/symphonyboy.

Scores to Dave’s compositions have been recently re-released, and you can now purchase copies online. Visit the following link to check out many of these compositions:


Also, my co-host John Grillo has a recording of the complete Double Bass Duets by Dave with Pittsburgh Symphony bassist Peter Guild. You can check them out here (there are links to each individual duet through the following link):

Topics discussed:

  • Dave’s early years
  • studying with Frank Proto, Barry Green, Stuart Sankey, and Warren Benfield
  • his compositional style and how he got into composing
  • talking about composing with Maxim Shostakovich
  • meeting and taking lessons with Jaco Pastorius

About Dave:

Dave Anderson is a professional double bassist, joined the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans in September of 1996 after winning their Principal Bass audition. Prior to that appointment, he performed and recorded regularly with the Louisville Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among others. Since 1994, he has served as Principal Bassist in the Britt Festival Orchestra in Oregon.

He has performed extensively with many diverse ensembles including, the Aspen Festival, Chautauqua (NY) Festival, Colorado Philharmonic (NRO), Colorado Music Festival, the LaSalle Quartet, and as a soloist with Richard Stoltzman, Gene Bertoncini, Nigel Kennedy, Bobby McFerrin, Doc Severinsen and many others. He has served as Bass Instructor for the Music School at Loyola University and also on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists (ISB) as bassist/composer.
Mr. Anderson began his pursuits in composition in 1984, recognizing that the solo repertoire for his instrument was limited. The influence of Frank Proto, one of his finest teachers, also led him to turn to involved composition. Since then, his published work has expanded to other solo instruments, as well as for chamber orchestras and small ensembles. He has published bass duets and quartets, including a bass quartet that was performed to acclaim at the Chamber Music Festival at Indiana University in 1993. Anderson won first prize in the 1995 Allen Ostrander International Trombone Composition Competition, sponsored by Ithaca college, for Elegy for Van, a work for solo bass trombone and brass choir, which he composed as a tribute to the late Lewis Van Haney, former trombonist with the New York Philharmonic. Several years ago, Anderson completed a concerto for Bass Trombone, commissioned by his father, Edwin Anderson, former bass trombonist with the Cleveland Orchestra. His Concerto for Double Bass, Strings & Harp, commissioned by Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Bassist Hal Robinson was premiered at the ISB Convention in June of 1997 and performed on the 1997-98 subscription series of the Philadelphia Orchestra season, Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting. His current work includes a second symphony, as well as several commissions.

Also a prolific electric bassist, Anderson loves playing with pedal steel guitarist, David Easley. The group known as the Anderson/Easley Project perform original music of many genres including free jazz, funk, bop, minimalist and many wonderfully unique approaches to dynamics and expression. Anderson also plays with Algorhythm Method, and SOFA KING BIG SOUL, bands that fuse many different styles including hard rock, funk, blues, jazz, and New Orleans R & B.
Anderson has jammed with The Radiators, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Roy Pope, Darryl Brown, and many other great New Orleans musicians including a killer performance with guitarist Brian Stoltz of the Funky Meters as a main highlight of the French Quarter Festival 2002.

In 1984-85, Anderson played for and took lessons with the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius in New York, who firmly encouraged the idea of being able to cross over between classical and jazz.

Here is some of what the Press has said in Anderson’s past: Review of Anderson’s Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola & Bass, Louisville Courier Journal music critic Andrew Adler wrote: “Anderson’s new work is splendidly fresh and provocative, ingenious in how it distributes material … the jazzy syncopations and ethnic flavorings reflect a diverse, expertly distilled inspiration. Thoroughly absorbed by yesterday’s performance, the piece offered sustained pleasure.”
Reviews of Anderson’s Bass Concerto: Houston Chronicle music critic Charles Ward : “ … thoroughly appealing … his rich scoring of the orchestra and expansive solo melodies came from a composer exuberantly in love with music.” Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer: “ … a melodious work, whose moods cohere… the thoughtful, the nostalgic, the provocative. Ideas are fertile and cohesive.” Thomas May, Washington Post: “Anderson shows a gift for fashioning readily accessible music from unusual combinations of timbres.”

Featured Music:

  • “Teen Town” by Jaco Pastorius
  • Surf Ride from Yule Loggs for 4 basses
  • Schweik Fahrt with Hal Robinson and Dave Anderson

Music Provided by:

Special thanks to Daniel Chmielinski for technical assistance – www.carsleuth.net

Show Notes:

Release Date: 4/19/08

Length: 46:50

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About Jason

An active double bass performer and teacher, Jason teaches double bass at DePaul University and served on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists for many years. Jason is the current President of the Illinois chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Jason has been a member of the Elgin Symphony since 2000 and has played with the Midsummer’s Music Festival in Door County for the past decade. He is a past member of the Milwaukee Ballet and IRIS Orchestra, and has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Symphony, and numerous other professional ensembles.

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