The ISB recognises Robinson’s lifetime accomplishments, as well as the contributions of numerous bass players with its 2023 Special Recognition Awards

Harold Hal Robinson

Harold ‘Hal’ Robinson

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The International Society of Bassists (ISB) has announced Harold ‘Hal’ Robinson as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award. Awarded every two years, the prize recognises lifetime achievement and is the ISB’s highest honour.

Robinson joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal bass in 1995 and held that position until his retirement in 2022. He previously served as principal bass with the National Symphony (1985–95), assistant principal bass of the Houston Symphony (1977–85), and principal bass of the New Mexico Symphony, then known as the Albuquerque Symphony (1975–77).

He was a prizewinner at the 1982 Isle of Man Double Bass Competition, and has performed concertos with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Houston Symphony and Houston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, the American Chamber Orchestra, and the Greenville (South Carolina) Orchestra. 

A native of Houston, Texas, Robinson studied at Northwestern University and the Peabody Conservatory, and has given recitals and masterclasses around the world. He has commissioned and co-commissioned new works for the bass, including David Anderson’s Concerto for Double Bass, Harp & Strings, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass and Piano. Robinson joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1995, and also serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School.

The ISB has also announced the recipients of its Special Recognition Awards. Also awarded every two years, the awards recognise bassists who have contributed their special skills, knowledge, projects and other positive works in furthering the ISB’s mission to Inspire, Educate and Connect. The 2023 Special Recognition Award honorees are: 

Composition – Nicholas Walker

Lutherie – Susan Lipkins

Scholarship – Heather Miller Lardin

Teaching – Linda McKnight

Solo Performance – Lorraine Campet

Jazz Performance – Linda May Han Oh

Orchestral Performance – Edicson Ruiz

Historically Informed Performance – Heather Miller Lardin

Young Bassist Ambassador – Johnny Hamil

Special Merit – Joseph Conyers

The Awards Committee was chaired by Hans Sturm and comprised Lynn Hannings, Jason Heath, Larry Hurst, Larry Hutchinson, David Murray, Shanti Nachtergaele, Rufus Reid, Tracy Rowell, Lynn Seaton and Maggie Urquhart.

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