Joel Quarrington• Conservatoire de musique de Montréal
• Royal Academy of Music Musical Instrument: Double bass
For over forty years, Joel Quarrington has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, The Toronto Symphony and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and most recently, the famous London Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Toronto, Joel Quarrington began his formal studies of the double bass when he was thirteen. Upon graduation from the University of Toronto, he was awarded the “Eaton Scholarship” as the school’s most outstanding graduate. Joel is a winner of the 1978 Geneva International Competition and the 1976 CBC Talent Competition. His solo concerts, chamber music and orchestral life have taken him all over the world.
Joel teaches in the summers at Orford Music Academy in Quebec, where his master classes have attracted players from around the world. He is a professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Montreal and also teaches at McGill University, Schulich School of Music, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he is a “Visiting Artist”.
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. He is particularly honoured to have been a part of a 1982 recording session with the legendary Glenn Gould for the soundtrack of Timothy Findley’s The Wars. Written for solo cello and bass and based on Brahms’ Intermezzi, this turned out to be the last music composed by Gould before his untimely death.
In April of 2005, he had the honour of playing the world premier John Harbison’s Concerto for Bass with the Toronto Symphony and conductor Hugh Wolf. Two other important concertos written specifically for him by the composers Raymond Luedeke and Peter Paul Koprowski are unique tour de forces.
Joel has made several solo recordings that have made him famous, at least in the bass world.
His early Bottesini recordings on the NAXOS label are considered by many to be definitive. In April 2010, his recording, “Garden Scene”, won the 2010 Juno Award for Best Classical Recording. June 2013 marked the release of his recording “Brothers in Brahms” and in February 2015 this recording won the prestigious Prix Opus as the Outstanding Romantic Classical Recording of the year in Quebec. This winning collaboration with the brilliant pianist David Jalbert also celebrated the music of Schubert with the 2018 release of “An die Musik”.
Recently, Joel’s focus has been on the unaccompanied works of J.S. Bach and his YouTube recording of the Cello Suite # 6 and the Preludio of the Violin Partita #3 have been very enthusiastically received and received thousands of views.
2021 saw the publication of his “Canadian School of Double Bass” method books 1&2, after twenty years of research and practical work.
In 2011, he received a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Solo Performance from the International Society of Bassists and in 2015 they awarded Joel the same award for Outstanding Orchestral Performance.
Joel is married to the cellist Carole Sirois and they live in Quebec’s beautiful Eastern Townships.