This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

More for:
Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington

principal double bass

Joel Quarrington, a winner of the Geneva International Competition, has long been recognized as Canada’s foremost double bassist and is regarded as one of the world’s leading players.

Joel Quarrington rejoined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as principal double bass in 2006 after playing two seasons with NACO in 2002-03 and 2003-04. For more than a decade, he led the bass sections in the Hamilton Philharmonic and later the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, before assuming the position of principal double bass of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1991. He has made solo appearances in Canada, the US, Europe and China. He has played concerti with a number of Canadian orchestras including the NAC Orchestra and those of Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Toronto. As a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, he participated in tours to Atlantic Canada in 2002, and to the United States and Mexico in 2003.

Joel Quarrington is a faculty member of Toronto’s Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music and has taught in masterclasses for such esteemed schools as Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute and London’s Royal Academy of Music. He introduced a double bass component to the NAC Summer Music Institute in the summer of 2003. He returned to the faculty of the Summer Music Institute in 2006.

Joel Quarrington is also a renowned chamber musician and has performed with many of the world's leading string quartets including the Orford, Vermeer, Cleveland, Colorado, St. Lawrence, Allegri and Tokyo Quartets. Joel is particularly honoured to have been a part of a 1982 recording session with the great 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.

Joel performs on an Italian bass made in 1630 by the Brescian master, Santo Paolo Maggini. He is a strong advocate of the unusual practice of tuning the bass in fifths, an octave lower than the cello. This is the tuning he uses exclusively.

Joel’s latest CD – Vol. 2 of the NAXOS Bottesini series, a recording of duos with pianist Andrew Burashko, soprano Monica Whicher, clarinetist James Campbell, and the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal bassist, Harold Robinson – was released in March 2008 by NAXOS. His earlier solo CDs – Virtuoso Reality on CBC Records and his earlier NAXOS CD of music by Giovanni Bottesini – were both released to critical acclaim.

In his spare time, Joel is a truly terrible erhu player (an erhu is a chinese two-string violin) and has recently released his seventh erhu CD, Erhu's (the) Greatest; A Golden Decade which is a compilation disc and features the Quarrington Brothers 1999 appearance on Peter Gzowski’s CBC radio show Morningside as well as highlights from such memorable recordings as Country Erhu '98, Everybody Digs the Erhu, The Three Erhus at the Acropolis and Erhus From Beyond the Galaxy.

For more information about Joel Quarrington visit his website at

April 2008