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David J. Grossman+

Bass

Biography

Double bassist and composer David J. Grossman enjoys a multifaceted musical career on both the East and West Coasts — as a bassist in the New York Philharmonic (having joined in spring 2000 as its youngest member) and as newly appointed principal bass of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

As a soloist and clinician, Grossman has given recitals and master classes at prestigious venues and music schools across the country, including the Boston Conservatory, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, The Hartt School, Penn State University, and the New York Summer Music Festival. He has released two albums — one classical and one jazz — titled The Bass of Both Worlds, available at davidjgrossman.com.

Grossman is also an ardent educator. He is as a member of the double bass faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and he joined the Mannes School of Music faculty in fall 2017. Also a passionate chamber musician, he performs in the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Concert Hall and has appeared at 92nd Street Y and with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In the field of jazz, Grossman was a member of the Marcus Roberts Trio and has performed with Wynton Marsalis, among many others.

As a composer, David J. Grossman’s compositions include Mood Swings for trombone and double bass, written for New York Philharmonic Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi; Fantasy on “Shall We Gather at the River?”, available on former New York Philharmonic English Horn Thomas Stacy’s recording Plaintive Melody; and two early compositions, Swing Quartet and String Quintet No. 1, which were premiered by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

“I fell in love with the bass for its rich, dark tone and versatility in all kinds of music.”

Interview with David J. Grossman

THE FACTS: Born in New York City. Bachelor’s degree in music from The Juilliard School. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 2000. Teaches at the Manhattan School of Music. Also a composer, whose works include Mood Swings for Trombone and Double Bass for Philharmonic Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi, and Fantasy on “Shall We Gather at the River?” for former Philharmonic English Horn Thomas Stacy.

MOST RECENT RECORDING: Two CDs — one classical, one jazz — entitled The Bass of Both Worlds

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My mother playing Schubert on the piano. I began playing the piano at seven, started composing at eight, and began the bass at eleven. The first piece I fell in love with was Bach’s Double Violin Concerto (with my sister, Christine, as one of the soloists). The counterpoint fascinated me. I fell in love with the bass for its rich, dark tone and versatility in all kinds of music.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? Leonard Bernstein. He was an inspiration as one who excelled in many different styles and facets of music. I was fortunate to have met him in my childhood and able to go to his rehearsals and concerts with my father, who knew the Bernstein family.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? I couldn’t imagine being anything else. In high school I was getting more and more into music — I had a different kind of lesson after school every day: classical piano, jazz piano, classical bass, and composition.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN JAZZ? I started jazz piano at Manhattan School of Music with Mordechai Cohen at age 12, in the following years I wrote many big band charts for the school’s jazz ensemble. I met Wynton Marsalis at a master class when I was 17 — he was so supportive and encouraging, and he invited me to play with him from time to time.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Performing Bruckner with Maestro Haitink in November 2011. His love for the music and trust in the Orchestra was readily apparent in our sound from the first rehearsal. It got better from there!

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: Bach. All his music is unequivocally great.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? Oscar Peterson Meets Sarah Vaughan and Glenn Gould’s early recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations

ARE THERE MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My mother plays the piano, my father is an opera singer and photographer, and my sister plays viola.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I love practicing yoga, pursuing the study of philosophy, as well as photography and cooking.

Updated February 2012

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