Although Ali Yazdanfar started playing the bass at seven years old, he didn’t take the usual music school route to becoming a professional musician. In fact, his strong background in science and mathematics led to a physics degree from the Johns Hopkins University, and, directly upon graduation, he won his first audition to become a member of the Houston Symphony. He went on to win his next three auditions, for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., for principal bass with San Francisco Symphony, and for principal bass with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, where he currently plays.
Since finding himself fully ensconced in the world of the professional bassist, Mr. Yazdanfar has embraced all that a full career in music has to offer. Besides appearing as guest principal with orchestras such as the National Arts Center in Ottawa and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, he has given solo recitals throughout Canada and the United States, and was a prizewinner in the 2005 International Society of Bassists solo competition. Some recent highlights are a performance of Eduard Tubin’s Bass Concerto with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in April 2013 and the world premiere of Gareth Wood’s Double Bass Sonata at the International Society of Bassists biennial convention in June of the same year.
Also an avid chamber musician, he has performed at major festivals in North America and Europe and also co-founded the Ensemble Ulysse, a chamber music series in Washington, DC. Future projects include Montreal performances and recordings of several of Onslow’s string quintets.
Mr. Yazdanfar was lucky to study with influential and well-known teachers such as Paul Johnson, Hal Robinson, Paul Ellison and François Rabbath, and taking his inspiration from them, devotes much of his time to the next generation of bassists. In addition to being a member of the faculty of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, he has given masterclasses at venues such as the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, the Glenn Gould School, and the European Bass Conventions in Prague and Copenhagen. He has also spent many summers teaching at festivals such as Le Domaine Forget, Orford Music, the National Orchestral Institute, and Bass Club.