Teachers - Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington

Photos © Fred Catroll

Joel Quarrington has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles for over thirty years, including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. In August 2013 he became the Principal Bassist for the London Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Toronto, Joel Quarrington began playing the bass at the age of eleven in order to complete a bluegrass/folk trio with his two older brothers, Tony and Paul.

He began formal studies of the double bass when he was thirteen with Thomas Monohan, the late principal bassist of the Toronto Symphony as well as Peter Madgett who was also a member of the Toronto Symphony.

On his graduation from the University of Toronto, he was awarded the Eaton Scholarship as the school's most outstanding graduate. Subsequent studies took him to Italy and Austria where he studied with two legendary bass masters, Franco Petracchi and Ludwig Streicher.

Joel is a winner of the Geneva International Competition and the CBC Talent Competition, and has made solo appearances across Canada, the United States, Europe and China.

Joel teaches in the summers at the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec, where his master classes have attracted players from around the world. He has been a guest teacher for the Danish Bass Society, the Polish Bass Society, Beijing's China Conservatory, the Australian String Academy, the Royal Academy of Music, Double Bass Kaleidoscope at Michaelstein (Germany) and most recently at the Federal University Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

He has performed with many of the world's leading string quartets including the Orford, Vermeer, Cleveland, Colorado, St. Lawrence, Allegri, Artis, Leipzig and Tokyo Quartets as well as the Pinchas Zukerman Chamber Players.

Joel has made several solo recordings. In April 2010, his recording, “Garden Scene”, won the 2010 Juno Award for Best Classical Recording and features music of Korngold, Gliere, M.Weinberg, J.C. Bach and Bottesini. June 2013 marked the release of his latest recording “Brothers in Brahms”, which features music of Robert Fuchs, Robert Schumann and the 1st Violin Sonata in G op.78 by Johannes Brahms.

In 2011, he received a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Solo Performance from the International Society of Bassists and has been a featured performer at their biennial convention on three occasions.

Joel Quarrington performs on an Italian bass made in 1630 by the Italian master, Santo Paolo Maggini and is an enthusiastic advocate of the historical practice of tuning the bass in fifths (CGDA, an octave lower than the cello) rather than the customary fourths. He believes fifths tuning leads to clearer and more accurate performance in all ranges of the bass, as well as greater tonal richness.

Joel Quarrington's website.