Prizes over six divisions were given to double bass players from around the world

2023 Solo Competition Winners

2023 ISB solo competition winners (L to R) Jacob Warren, Alexander Heather, Nathan Perry and Will Duerden © Jeff Dunn

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The International Society of Bassists’ (ISB) biennial double bass competition was held from 5 to 6 June 2023 at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Andrew Kohn, professor of double bass and music theory at West Virginia University, served as chair of this year’s competition. Competitors participated in six divisions: solo, jazz, orchestra (ages 19 to 30) and divisions for younger bassists: youth solo (ages 15 to 18), youth jazz (ages 15 to 18) and ages 14 and under.

Jacob Warren took the Gary Karr prize in the solo division, winning $5,000 and an expenses-paid recital at the 2025 ISB convention. Hailing from South Lyons, MI, Warren is a graduate of University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance and has previously won third prize in the ISB solo competition in both 2019 and 2021.

Second prize of $1,000 went to British bassist Will Duerden, who also won the $500 prize for Best Performance of the required piece, Basso by Errollyn Wallen, given by Madeleine Crouch & Co., Inc. Alexander Heather and Nathan Perry received joint third prize of $750. British bassists Duerden and Heather are both final-year students at London’s Royal College of Music, studying with Caroline Emery. Earlier this month, Duerden was announced as one of the new signings on the YCat roster. Perry is currently studying at the Yehudi Menuhin School and will begin his studies at the RCM in September. 

The judges for the solo division were Diana Gannett (division chair), Nina Bernat, Nina DeCesare, Anna Jensen, Sam Suggs and Yung-chiao Wei.

In the jazz division, Jared Beckstead-Craan won the top Scott LaFaro prize of $5,000, which also includes an expenses-paid concert at the 2025 ISB convention and a Realist pickup given by Finlay & Gage Musical Instruments. Tyrone Allen won second prize of $1,000, while Ben Feldman won third prize of $750. Guillermo Lopez received an honorable mention.

The judges for the jazz division were Mimi Jones (division chair), Carlo Derosa, Michael O’Brien and Rodney Whitaker.

The orchestra division saw Davis Pierson from Plano, TX, take first prize. He will receive an expenses-paid week with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.The Scott Haigh Prize of $1,000, given by the Unified Retirement Planning Group, was won by Orion Miller, while third prize of $750, given by the Cincinnati Bass Cellar, was won by Tim Rinehart. First honorable mention went to Finnegan Powers and second honorable mention went to Bowen Ha.

The orchestra division was judged by a panel representing numerous symphony orchestras and comprised Ju-Fang Liu, (division chair) Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Kevin Brown, Detroit Symphony; Scott Dixon, Cleveland Orchestra; Scott Haigh, Cleveland Orchestra; Rob Kassinger, Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Steve Molina; Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

2023 ISB Youth Solo Competition Winners

2023 Youth Solo competition winners (L to R) Zichen Zhang, Levi Andreassen and Maggie Carter © Jeff Dunn

In the youth solo division (ages 15 to 18), the Joel Quarrington Prize was shared by Levi Andreassen of Springfield, MO and Zichen Zhang from China. Third prize of $500, given by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Mapp, was won by Maggie Carter of Portland, OR.

The youth solo division judges were Joel Braun (division chair), Valentina Ciardelli, Jonathan Colbert,Rodrigo Mata Alvarez, Mariechen Meyer and Ron Wasserman.

Logan Zaud of Los Angeles, CA, took the first prize in the youth jazz division of $2,500, given by Mike Hennessy. The prize also includes a Realist pickup given by Finlay & Gage Musical Instruments. Second prize of $1,000, given by the ISB, was won by Laesio Littlejohn from Dallas, TX, while third prize of $500, given by the ISB, was won by Ruby Farmer of Brooklyn, NY. An honorable mention went to John Wood of Washington, DC.

The youth jazz division judges were Adam Booker and Miles Brown (division chairs); and Mike Forfia.

The division for bassists aged 14 and under was dominated by young Chinese bassists. First prize of $1,000, given by the ISB, was won by Yiwei Guo of Changshu, China, second prize of $500 given by David Murray, went to Xiye Chen of Shanghai, China, while third prize of $250, given by John & Penny Schimek, was won by Shang Shi of Changzhou City, China. All three bassists study with Luo Bing at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music affiliated middle school. 

The jury for the bassists aged 14 and under comprised Caroline Emery (division chair), Szymon Marciniak, Jackie Pickett, Tracy Rowell and Margaret Urquhart.

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