BassJeremy Kurtz-Harris


Sophie and Arthur Brody Foundation Chair

Bassist Jeremy Kurtz-Harris has a diverse musical background that includes solo, chamber and orchestral performance. He has been the Principal Bassist of the San Diego Symphony since 2004 and has also played Guest Principal Bass with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. During the 2015-16 season, Kurtz-Harris performed with the San Francisco Symphony as Acting Associate Principal Bass. He has also played Associate Principal Bass in the summers with the Sun Valley Music Festival since 2010.

In addition to orchestral performance, Kurtz-Harris has always been an avid proponent of the double bass as a solo instrument. He is enthusiastic about sharing the unique voice of the instrument with audiences, as well as helping to encourage new works to be written for the instrument. He has helped to organize several consortium commissions, which bring multiple performers together to commission a new work from a composer. Soon after arriving in San Diego, he helped the International Society of Bassists organize a fifteen-orchestra consortium for a double bass concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison. More recently, he formed consortiums to commission Double Down, a bass duet from composer Peter Askim, and Sueños (Dream Suite), a five-movement work for bass and piano by composer Andrés Martin.

Collaboration and a sense of musical community are very important to Kurtz-Harris, whether it is being an active member within the San Diego Symphony community, participating in chamber performances for Art of Elán and other local series, performing with long-time collaborator, pianist Ines Irawati, or being involved with the International Society of Bassists (ISB). The ISB has been a very important organization for Kurtz-Harris, as it fosters support and interaction among bassists from many countries, backgrounds and musical genres, and also opportunities for young bassists. He won the ISB solo competition in 1997 and had the opportunity not only to perform and present at multiple ISB conventions since then, but also to serve on the ISB Board for several years.

Kurtz-Harris is passionate about sharing music with young audiences as well as encouraging young musicians to realize their own performance dreams. Having begun playing bass in fifth grade in the Manassas, VA public schools, he wants to encourage other young people to get an early start in making live music an active part of their lives. He has performed for students in schools and libraries throughout San Diego as part of the San Diego Symphony’s Learning and Community Engagement Program, and has given masterclasses for young musicians in San Diego, Tijuana and throughout North America. Kurtz-Harris has been on the music faculty at San Diego State University since 2006, where he runs the classical bass studio.

When not performing, Kurtz-Harris stays busy making up stories for his children, baking bread, going to the Zoo with his family, and trying to walk through his house without stepping on Legos, matchbox cars, or other frequently used items. He listens to a wide variety of music, does recording projects for his extended family, and simply has fun “doodling” on his drums, electric bass, guitar and a wide assortment of other instruments he has collected over the years. He lives with his wife and two children in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.

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