Kees Boersma

Principal double Bass Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australia

Kees Boersma has been the Principal Bassist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australia’s pre-eminent orchestra, for more than 25 years.Kees has been active in promoting Australian music, premiering several Double Bass concertos written for him. The Colin Bright Double Bass Concerto and Mary Finsterer Bass Concerto were commissioned and premiered by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with Kees as soloist.He was born in the Netherlands and migrated with his family to Australia as a child. Initial studies on the bass commenced in Australia before a move back to the Netherlands which led to an extended period of performing, touring and recording with the world renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, working with such legendary conductors as Bernard Haitink , Antal Dorati, Riccardo Chailly, Nicholas Harnoncourt and Carlo Maria Giulini. He studied during this time with many of the finest bass teachers in Europe – Tom Martin, Franco Petracchi, Ludwig Streicher and Knut Guettler.On his return to Australia he was appointed to the Principal Bass position with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a role he has combined with frequent guest Principal engagements with such diverse orchestras as the Hong Kong, New Zealand and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as a recent invitation to lead the London Symphony Orchestra basses.Together with his double bass playing wife Kirsty McCahon, he is a member of the Australian World Orchestra – an ensemble comprised of Australian musicians drawn from orchestras around the world and led by some of the greatest conductors of our time such as Sir Simon Rattle and Zubin Mehta – Kees will be premiering the ground breaking Elena Kats Chernin Concerto for Eight Double Basses and orchestra in Sydney and Singapore in September/October, 2016 as part of its fifth year celebrations. Kees is active both in contemporary and historically informed performance. He was a founding member of the ELISION Ensemble, an internationally renowned ground breaking contemporary music ensemble that challenges composers to write music with no limitations on degrees of difficulty! ELISION recorded extensively and toured through Italy and Germany, championing the music of composers such as Liza Lim, Richard Barrett and Allessandro Melcchiore – artists whose music illustrate the ‘new complexities’ style exemplified by Brian Ferneyhough.In his work on historically informed performance Kees has toured in the UK and Spain with the London based ‘Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’. He is a frequent featured artist at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and Australia’s Musica Viva Chamber Music Festival – a biennial festival run by the world’s largest presenter of chamber music.A dedicated teacher, Kees is a Lecturer of Double Bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University and is a regular tutor with the Australian Youth Orchestra. He has given masterclasses at the Australian National Academy of Music (Melbourne) and the Queensland Conservatorium of music and has been regular presenter at Double Bass symposiums across Australia.

 

Joseph Conyers

Assistant Principal Double Bass Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, USA

Joseph H. Conyers Joseph H. Conyers was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010. He joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) where he served as principal bass, and Santa Fe Opera (NM).

Described by the Grand Rapids Press as “a lyrical musician who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique,” Conyers has performed with numerous orchestras as soloist including the Alabama, Flagstaff, & Richmond Symphonies, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Sphinx Symphony having won second prize at the 2004 Sphinx Competition in Detroit, MI. In 2008, John B Hedges wrote Conyers a bass concerto, “Prayers of Rain and Wind,” commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony.

As a chamber musician, Conyers was recently named an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Other chamber music festivals and collaborations have included the Ilumina Festival (Brazil), Savannah Music Festival (GA), Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival (VA), Kingston Chamber Music Festival (RI), Lexington Chamber Music Festival (KY), with artists that include James Ehnes, Daniel Hope, and members of the Emerson String Quartet.

A recipient of many awards and honors including the 2015 Inaugural Young Alumni Award from his alma mater, The Curtis Institute of Music, Conyers graduated with his bachelors degree studying with both Harold Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and double bass soloist Edgar Meyer. Other mentors have included David Warshauer, principal bassist of the former Savannah Symphony, Daniel Swaim, and Albert Laszlo. In 1999 Conyers was one of the first guests on NPR’s “From the Top” with host Christopher O’Riley in one of its pilot shows. In 2007 Conyers was named one of “30 Leaders 30 and Under” by Ebony Magazine.

Conyers is committed to education and community engagement through music. He has served as adjunct faculty at Calvin College (MI), Clark Atlanta University (GA) and is currently at Temple University (PA). Conyers has taught at numerous summer music festivals including the New York State Summer School for the Arts and the Philadelphia International Music Festival. In addition, Conyers has given masterclasses across the country including The Colburn School, The New England Conservatory, Yale University, and the National Repertory Orchestra.

For much of 2010, Conyers was featured in a television commercial as a part of a Mutual of Omaha advertisement campaign. Conyers’ “aha moment” was about his inspiration founding the nonprofit Project 440 (project440.org). Project 440 has reached thousands of youths – exposing children and adults to classical music throughout the country. In 2010 Project 440 broadened its mission by using music as a tool to engage, educate, and inspire young musicians – providing them with career and life skills to become tomorrow’s civic-minded and entrepreneurial leaders. The Project 440 curriculum includes college and career preparedness, leadership building, entrepreneurship, and ultimately, service in one’s community through music. Partners have included Carnegie Hall, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Curtis Institute of Music, the New York State Summer School of the Arts, and The Settlement Music School (PA).

In 2015, Conyers was appointed music director of Philadelphia’s famed All City Orchestra, an ensemble showcasing the top orchestral talent from students in the school district of Philadelphia. Concurrently, Project 440 has taken on a role of lead program enrichment partner for all of All City (band and choir included – about 450 students) – making it so that each participant in All City has access to Project 440’s seminars and curriculum materials. Conyers currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Atlanta Music Project in Atlanta, GA and has served on both the board of directors for ASTA (American String Teachers Association) and the Board of Overseers for the Curtis Institute of Music.

Conyers performs on the "Zimmerman/Gladstone" 1802 Vincenzo Panormo Double Bass which he has affectionately named “Norma.”