International Society of Bassists Convention 2023

Back in person again after four long years!

With Jason Heath · San Francisco, CA

The 2023 International Society of Bassists Convention was a remarkable event that brought together double bass enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. Held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the convention was a celebration of the double bass and all the incredible things it can do.

I had a blast hanging out with folks like (L to R) Kate Jones, Nicholas Walker, Lloyd Goldstein, Johnny and Leon Hamil, and Dennis Whittaker!

Competition Winners

The International Society of Bassists competitions are an important platform for highlighting new performers and instrument makers and giving them a wider audience. These competitions attract some of the most talented and innovative bassists from around the world, showcasing their skills and creativity to a global audience.

In addition to promoting individual performers, the competitions also provide a valuable opportunity for instrument makers to showcase their latest designs and innovations, helping to drive the evolution of the bass as an instrument. Overall, the International Society of Bassists competitions play a vital role in promoting the bass as an instrument and advancing its development and innovation.

Maker’s Competition

We are truly living in the golden age of double bass making, and it is so cool to see new and familiar faces on this list. We have profiled many of these makers in the past and will be featuring even more from them in the coming months.

SILVER MEDAL FOR WORKMANSHIP

SILVER MEDAL FOR TONE

CERTIFICATE FOR WORKMANSHIP

CERTIFICATE FOR TONE

  • William Lakeberg, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Zachary Martin, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
  • Mitch Moehring, Kilgore, Texas

CONVENTION FAVORITE

  • Evan Davenport, Albuquerque, New Mexico

CONVENTION FAVORITE HONORABLE MENTION

  • Trevor Davis, Austin, Texas
  • Seth Kimmel, Eugene, Oregon
  • Joey Naeger, Katy, Texas
  • Aaron Reiley, Jenison, Michigan

SOUND-OFF EVENT TOP 5 (Alpha by last name with one tie vote)

  • Trevor Davis, Austin, Texas
  • Mitch Moehring, Kilgore, Texas
  • Joey Naeger, Katy, Texas
  • Keiran O’Hara, Brewster, New York
  • Aaron Reiley, Jenison, Michigan
  • Tetsu Suzuki, Tokyo, Japan

Solo Division

Jazz Division

Orchestra Division

Youth Solo (Age 15-18) Division

Youth Jazz (Age 15-18) Division

Age 14 and Under Division

  • First Prize: Yiwei Guo
  • Second Prize: Xiye Chen
  • Third Prize: Shang Shi

Connecting with Friends and Colleagues

The convention was a particularly special event, as it marked the first time that bass enthusiasts from around the world had the opportunity to gather in person in over four years. For many bassists, the convention represented a long-awaited chance to connect with friends and colleagues who they hadn’t seen in years. It was an opportunity to share their love of the bass and to learn from one another, something that simply isn’t the same in a virtual setting. The convention provided a much-needed sense of community and belonging, reminding attendees why they fell in love with the bass in the first place.

Han-Jui Chen presenting Compositional Innovations and Performing strategies of composers of Chinese heritage
The exhibit halls were lively all week!

A Valuable Learning Experience

Of course, the convention was also a valuable learning experience, with a wide range of workshops, performances, and networking opportunities on offer. Attendees had the chance to hear from some of the world’s most talented bassists, learn new techniques and approaches, and explore the latest products and trends in the industry. For many, the convention was a transformative experience that left them feeling inspired and reinvigorated in their love of the bass.

The Build-a-Bass Project

The 2023 International Society of Bassists Convention featured a number of exciting events and workshops, including the Build-a-Bass project. This project brought together a team of experienced luthiers and bassists to create a new double bass from scratch, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to learn about the process of building a bass and to witness the creation of a truly one-of-a-kind instrument.

The Young Bassists Program

In addition to the many events and workshops at the 2023 International Society of Bassists Convention, there was also the Young Bassists Program, a special program designed specifically for young bassists. This program provided aspiring young musicians with the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most talented bassists, to hone their skills, and to connect with other young musicians who share their passion for the bass.

Connecting with Other Bassists

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the convention was the opportunity to connect with other bassists. Attendees had the chance to meet and network with other musicians from around the world, forging new friendships and collaborations that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on their careers.

With Madeleine Crouch, Rodrigo Mata, Szymon Marciniak, and Lloyd Goldstein.
Performing with Owen Lee, Claus Freudenstein, and Sam Suggs.
Gary Karr joined Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey for an emotional performance he titled “The Shadow of Harmon’s Smile”

A Resounding Success

Overall, the 2023 International Society of Bassists Convention was a resounding success. It showcased the incredible versatility and range of the bass, provided attendees with valuable insights and information, and brought together a community of passionate and talented bassists. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out on your bass journey, the convention was an event not to be missed.

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