Double Bass Festival

Department of Music

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UMD Bass Festival

The University of Minnesota Duluth's Music Department is proud to host an all-day intensive workshop for all bass enthusiasts!

Register Today for the Entire Festival!

Hosted by Dr. Adam Booker, Assistant Professor of Bass/Jazz at UMD  

Dr. Adam Booker

Dr. Adam Booker:

Celebrating the release of his debut CD as a bandleader, Unraveled Rival, a collection of original tunes and arrangements of more non-traditional repertoire, Adam Booker is becoming an increasingly visible bassist and jazz educator in the Mid West.

Adam served as a bassist in the US Navy, where he was assigned to US Navy Band New Orleans until the end of his enlistment in 2005. During his enlistment, Adam had the opportunity to delve into New Orleans' rich musical culture. He became a member of The Hot Club of New Orleans, The Rob Block Quintet, and The Devin Phillips Quintet. He has performed with a wide variety of today's modern jazz up-and-comers, including Patrick Cornelius, Davy Mooney, and Maurice Brown.

Adam Booker has also shared the stage with several of jazz's great masters, including Al Grey, Frank Foster, John Fedchock, Russel Malone, Butch Miles, Ignacio Berroa, Arthur Latin, and Diana Krall, as well as pop music icon, Elvis Costello.

Upon his Honorable Discharge from the Navy, Adam returned to central Texas and became a staple in the Austin music scene, performing with the Kris Kimura Quartet, as well as various other groups. Dr. Booker has also had the privilege of studying with many great bassists, including, Francois Rabbath, Eric Revis of the Branford Marsalis Quartet and the legendary Milt Hinton, as well as members of the San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Adam has earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Double Bass Performance from the University of Texas, Austin. He also holds a MM in Composition and a BM in Jazz Studies from Texas State University, San Marcos. Adam currently resides in Duluth, Minnesota where he is the Assistant Professor of Applied Bass and Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Mark your calendars . . .


Friday, February 3, 2017

All enthusiastic Bassists are welcome and encouraged to register and attend!

The Department of Music and University of Minnesota Duluth proudly presents its inaugural UMD Double Bass Festival!

Our featured artist is Dr. Donovan Stokes, Professor of Double Bass at Shenandoah Conservatory and world re-known double bass soloist and pedagogue!

Donovan Stokes

Donovan Stokes enjoys a varied career of performing, composing, writing and teaching. His solo recording Gadaha garnered two JPF Music Award rankings for Best Album and Best Instrumental Song. Described as a musician who “paints primary colours and subtle shades to considerable effect” (The Double Bassist), Stokes is also noted for his “eye-popping display of technical wizardry and showmanship” (Madison Jazz).

Dr. Stokes has given classes and performed as soloist throughout the U.S., in Mexico, Norway, Italy, England, France and the Czech Republic. He is regularly seen at the Richard Davis Bass Conference in Madison, WI, the International Society of Bassists Conference and at the Milt Hinton Institute (Oberlin).

A Full Professor at Shenandoah University-Conservatory, he teaches jazz and classical bass and acts as String Chair. He offers a range of online instruction and has created an Upright Slap Bass Instructional Video available exclusively online. As a composer he has enjoyed commissions from Barry Green, Blanka Bednarz, The International Society of Bassists Young Bass Division, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and Jerry Fuller, among others.  He is also and expert in the life and work of bassist Rodion Azarkhin and writes a regular column on the double bass at

As a chamber musician he has had the honor of collaborating with musicians Clyde Thomas Shaw, Fry Street Quartet, Agua Va!, members of the Audubon Quartet, Stuart Malina, Blanka Bednarz, Eriko Sato, John O’Connor , David Oui and Seymour Lipkin, among others. Stokes also performs Jazz, Americana, Rock and Gypsy Jazz regularly and is one half of the jazz bass duo “Two Bass Hit.”

Dr. Stokes earned degrees from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and Indiana University (M.M. and D.M.), where his major instructors were Lawrence Hurst, and Edgar Meyer. He studied fiddle styles with Crystal Ploughman and Mark O’Connor, string pedagogy with Lawrence Hurst, Helga Winold, Inez Wyrick and Mimi Zweig, and composition with Michael Alec Rose, Michael Kurek and Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn.

Stokes is also a Board Member for the International Society of Bassists, President of the Virginia String Teachers Association, and Artistic Director of the Bass Coalition and their Annual Bass Workshop where he head a highly selective a one-week Intensive Program for advanced bassists. Visit him on the web at or find him on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Guest Artist featured: Charles block 

Charles Block

Charles Block currently serves as principal bass of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as assistant principal of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Charles can be spotted working in the pit for touring Broadway shows and as a substitute/extra with the Chicago Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, Minnesota, Milwaukee Symphony, and Minnesota Opera Orchestras. Overseas, Charles has worked with the Macau Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Sinfonietta, and the RTE National Orchestra in Dublin. Charles received his education at San Francisco State University studying with Shinji Eshima, and Indiana University with Bruce Bransby.

Our other faculty guests include Dr. Adam Booker from UMD, Charles Block from UWS, and Vincent Osborne, DSSO.

Two concerts! Four different master classes, and all the basses on stage at the end for a BASS ORCHESTRA!

Festival admission is $25 and the price includes tickets for both concerts and access to all the master classes on Saturday.

Individual tickets are available for only the concerts at the UMD Box Office.


Register Here for the Entire Festival!

PDF iconUMD Double Bass Festival Schedule

Festival Schedule

Friday, February 3rd

7:30-8:30: Recital/Concert featuring Dr. Donovan Stokes

Saturday, February 4th

9:00 Check in/Registration*/Group Assignments, Weber Music Hall

10:00 Group Warm Up, Weber Music Hall, All Participants

10:30-11:20: Master Class I **

11:30-12:10: Master Class II

12:10-1:00: Lunch

1:00-1:50: Master Class III

2:00-2:50: Master Class IV

3:00-5:00: Bass Orchestra Rehearsal (All Participants)

5:00-7:30: Dinner Break

7:30 PM, Concert in Weber Music Hall featuring Dr. Adam Booker and special guests Charles Block and Vince Osborn

8:30: All participants perform in Bass Orchestra!


*Participants are strongly encouraged to join the bass orchestra to perform on Saturday evening to complete the day long festival! We will be performing “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana. There are parts to fit every skill level from beginner to advanced! Email Dr. Booker ( if you would like a part in advance of the event!

**Participants will be placed into four separate groups which will rotate through the various master classes. This is to give each participant maximum exposure to each of our amazing double bass teachers! Each instructor will be discussing a different bass performance related topic, including Solo Repertoire with Dr. Stokes, Jazz and improvisation with Dr. Booker, Thumb Position Technique with Vince Osborn, and Orchestral Repertoire with Charles Block!