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 Geneva International Competition and the CBC Talent Competition, and has made solo appearances across Canada, the United States, Europe and China.
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. Their Sony recording of Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Yefim Bronfman became an instant classic. 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 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.
He performs on an Italian bass made in 1660 by the Italian master Santo Maggini, and is an enthusiastic advocate of the historical practice of tuning the bass in fifths (CGDA, an octave lower than the cello) rather than the customary fourths. He believes fifths tuning leads to clearer and more accurate performance in all ranges of the bass, as well as greater tonal richness.