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Gaelen McCormick

Gaelen McCormick
Gaelen McCormick

Joined the RPO in 1995

Ms. McCormick has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic’s double bass section since 1995, and is Acting Assistant Principal this season.  Before joining the RPO, she held positions with regional orchestras such as the Erie (PA) Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic and the Albany Symphony and filled in with other major orchestras, including the Buffalo Philharmonic.  She holds degrees in performance from the Eastman School where she studied with James VanDemark and Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with Jeffrey Turner.

Teaching the double bass to students of all ages is a significant part of Gaelen’s life. She is a faculty member of Nazareth College and the Eastman Community Music School. In 2017 she joined the faculty of the Arts Leadership Program at the Eastman School of Music. Since 2014, she has been organizing and teaching at the Rochester Bass Retreat, a workshop for all ages and genres of bass playing. Gaelen has given masterclasses and recitals at Ithaca College, Williams College, the College of St. Rose, and Roberts Wesleyan College. She is a regular clinician at the New York State School Music Association’s Winter Conference and at the International Society of Bassists biennial conventions.  Her three book set on double bass bow technique, Mastering the Bow, is published by Carl Fischer. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists, and is the editor of their Bass World magazine’s teaching column.

Playing chamber music has been a passion for Ms. McCormick.  Before moving to Rochester, she often performed with the St. Cecilia Chamber Orchestra (Albany, NY) as their sole bassist.  During her tenure in Pittsburgh, she became the founding bassist of the Pittsburgh Live Music Chamber Orchestra. She was the founding member of the innovative string quintet “Gibbs and Main”, and recorded a cd of tango standards with them and commissioned a new work for the ensemble by Judd Greenstein.   Over many summers she has performed with the Music in the Mountains chamber orchestra, a festival based in Durango, Colorado. She is frequently invited to play chamber music with musicians from around the country in festivals such as the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival and the Syracuse New Music Ensemble.

Gaelen has been involved in volunteering and arts advocacy, and is proud to be one of the representatives for the RPO in the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians.  She is honored to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda, groups recognizing and supporting excellence in the humanities and in music specifically.  In her spare time, Gaelen enjoys kayaking, Argentine tango and West Coast swing dancing, and spending time with her family.  A recent career highlight was spending a month in Paris studying with iconic bassist and pedagogue Francois Rabbath.

Photo credit: Michael Hanlon

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