Garth Stevenson: Solo Bass with Electronics

Tuesday / October 27, 2009 / 4:00 p.m.
David Friend Recital Hall
921 Boylston Street
United States

Garth Stevenson is a prominent voice in the New York music scene. He is well known as a double bassist, composer, arranger, producer, and electronic musician. He has performed throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Japan, and regularly performs solo concerts for double bass with electronics. His solo composition, "Grandfather," won the International Society of Double Bassists Composition Competition and was performed by Stevenson at the 2009 ISB convention. He currently collaborates with David Tronzo and Ziv Ravitz, John Shannon, Sonya Kitchell, Mat Maneri Quartet, 5707, Stones Throw, and Petr Cancura's People Music.

Born on September 17, 1982 in Kelowna, British Columbia, a Canadian mountain town, he studied piano from a young age, then switched to the double bass at fourteen. He began lessons with Bogdan Snarski, a former student of Ludwig Streicher and member of the Vienna Philharmonic. At seventeen he received a full scholarship to study at Berklee. There he pursued a dual major in performance and jazz composition and studied privately with John Lockwood. In his final year he was named top composition student and won multiple awards. He formed TAQ, an improvised music trio with Polish pianist Marcin Masecki and drummer Ziv Ravitz. They began touring Poland frequently, where they have become underground legends. In 2004 he graduated from Berklee and moved to New York.

In a short time he became immersed in the experimental and improvised music scenes, performing with such musicians as Mat Maneri and Ben Monder. He started a weekly music series to workshop his compositions and to develop his use of electronics on the double bass. His ambient textures introduced him to sound improviser and guitarist Ryan Ferreira, forming the duo known as 5707. In 2005 he joined Sonya Kitchell’s folk/rock band, which led to heavy touring, including performances at Bonaroo and on David Letterman. Kitchell’s upcoming release, Sonya Kitchell with Strings, is a collaborative project with Stevenson, who composed all the string arrangements. He is a founding member of Stones Throw, a improvised electro-acoustic band with Ziv Ravitz and trumpeter Shane Endsley. He also plays and records with ethereal folk artist John Shannon and is a member of People Music, a folk/jazz ensemble led by saxophonist Petr Cancura.

In 2006 Stevenson performed his first solo bass with electronics concert in Warsaw, receiving a great response from the Polish audience. Upon returning to New York he began composing and recording new works for his debut solo CD/DVD project, Alpine. The DVD portion is a collection of solo bass videos Stevenson filmed himself in nature, hiking his 150-year-old bass and recording equipment into remote areas of state parks in New York. In 2008 his solo concerts took on a new form with the introduction of surround sound and live visuals by Joshue Ott. He recently composed “Migration” for double bass and viola, a commission by world renowned bassist Robert Nairn. Stevenson introduced his solo music to the yoga community at Wanderlust, a festival of music and yoga at Lake Tahoe, California. His improvisations contoured the hourlong classes led by instructors Christy Nones and Elena Brower, with an appearance by the founder of Anusara Yoga, John Friend.