Double bassist Joseph Conyers: Driven by music


Principal double bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, teacher, mentor and entrepreneur, Joseph Conyers has a multifaceted career. David Kettle speaks to him to discover the source of his boundless energy

Joseph Conyers has just rushed back from the gym when we speak via Zoom. ‘I’m actually drinking a protein shake,’ he grins, rather sheepishly. ‘I was still in the gym seven minutes ago. I didn’t quite get to finish my workout, but I ran back and threw on a shirt so I could look half-presentable. I get used to running from one thing to the next.’

Take a look at Conyers’s long list of musical activities, and you realise that running between them hardly seems unreasonable. He became principal bassist with the Philadelphia Orchestra earlier this year, having played with the ensemble since 2010. He’s an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the UK-based Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective. He runs the music training and mentoring programme Project 440. He teaches at the Juilliard School in New York, and gives masterclasses right across the US. And as if all that weren’t enough, he’s also a prolific YouTuber and podcaster. How does he manage to cram it all in? I ask him whether he ever thinks to himself: ‘Enough!’…

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