2016 Conference Registration Deadline Extended

If you are still thinking about registering for the 23rd annual Richard Davis Foundation Bass conference, it’s not too late!

The posted deadline of March 1, 2016 for conference enrollment has been extended to March 15.

There are still recital spots available, however participants who wish to have a piano accompaniment should register no later than Monday, March 7, in order to ensure that your accompanist will have time to practice your recital pieces.

Questions or concerns can be directed to rdbassconference@gmail.com

For the up to the moment developments, sneak peeks, and announcements, “like” our page on Facebook !

2016 Featured Alumni

This year Robin Kesselman will be featured as a distinguished alumni for the Richard Davis Foundation’s 23rd annual bass conference! We are very pleased that he can make it back after graduating college and moving on into the professional world of being a performer. We’re looking forward to the expertise in orchestral bass playing, and energy he will bring to the conference both as a teacher and as a performer !

Get to know Robin a bit, by reading his bio below: 

Robin Kesselman, 2016 RDYB Featured Alumni

Robin Kesselman was appointed Principal Bass of the Houston Symphony Orchestra by Maestro Andrés Orozco­Estrada. He has performed as Guest Principal Bass with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, travelled internationally with both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and appeared with the National, Atlanta, and Baltimore Symphonies.

Outside of the orchestra Kesselman frequently performs as a soloist and chamber musician as well as giving masterclasses around the country and abroad. During the 2016 – 17 season, the Houston Symphony will feature him as a soloist performing the Koussevitzky Concerto for Double Bass. Recently, he was also featured as a soloist at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as a part of the Curtis Chamber Orchestra’s residency with Krzysztof Penderecki performing his Duo Concertante. In the summers, Kesselman has attended such festivals as the Pacific, Sarasota, and Aspen Music Festivals, as well as being a prizewinning fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. Also, he served as guest faculty for the summer residency of the Youth Philharmonic of Colombia.

A native of Wheaton, Illinois, Robin grew up in a musical family. His parents are choral directors and his sister is a soprano. He began his undergraduate studies at the Colburn School of Music before completing his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Southern California in 2012. He went on to receive his Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in December of 2014. Kesselman’s primary teachers have been David Allen Moore, Harold Robinson, Edgar Meyer, Paul Ellison, Chris Hanulik, and Virginia Dixon.

Example Schedule

Ever wonder what it is that students actually do at the Richard Davis Foundation bass conference?

Wonder no more – below is an example of a schedule a young bassist might receive. All students have customized schedules, carefully laid out by an expert clinician who has been working with young bassists for over 30 years.

Students are placed into warm up classes, bass orchestra parts, and their  quartet/trio/quintet with others who are around the similar age and playing level -based on the information that students provide in their registration forms.

Independent of the aforementioned placement factors, students maintain a high level of freedom in their schedule, to choose to attend sessions which interest them, whether that is playing or watching masterclasses/recitals, choosing which special topic class they’d like to go to, or what flex time option they’d like to participate in.

Although core curriculum stays the same basically from year to year, new classes, teachers, music, and class themes are brought fourth every year. Students who attend years in a row are guaranteed a different experience every time. As students grow in their abilities and their interests change or mature, they will always find something new to take home with them.

Click link below to see an example of a student schedule:

RDYB Example Student Schedule (Click Here)

RDYB at WMEA Conference

WSMA 2015 Conference Attended by RDYB

On October 30, 2015 RDYB presented at the WMEA (Wisconsin Music Educators Association) Conference hosted by WSMA (Wisconsin School Music Association) as a guest of Ben Ferris’s panel on teaching the bass.

The distinguished panel, including Ben Ferris, Carl Davick, Brad Townsend, Richard Davis, Brian Melk and Catherine Harris answered questions to an attentive audience of school music educators from across the state of Wisconsin.

There was a large turn out to this early morning event, the first in the day for the Friday segment of the conference, so much so that the room had to be converted and people packed in. The attending teachers asked questions about the purchase and maintenance of a bass, how to teach their current bass students, and how to transfer skills from electric bass to bass guitar, bowing and fingering.

The event was insightful in that demonstrated the continuing need to fulfill the mission of RDYB, and perhaps expand programming to include a teacher training seminar.

2015 Conference Wrap-Up

21233_1087895947893952_7477598460017882355_nThank you so much to everyone for making an exciting, learning-filled weekend of bass! Hopefully everyone made it home safe, and has had some time to review their favorite learning experience of the weekend. Congrats to everyone who participated.

Thanks to all of the folks who have documented this conference through video and photo – it is fun to have a documentation of this great weekend! A friendly reminder – Please ask permission from the performers who  you may post videos or pictures of on the internet. We’d like to give proper credit where credit is due, including composers and performers. A side note – not all students or parents have signed photo release forms, and therefore may not want their name or pictures posted. If you have a great photo or video that you’d like to share, please contact the foundation through email and we can post it on our youtube channel, Facebook or website after asking the people involved.

Another way families have shared their young bassist’s participation in the program is through their local papers- families have sent in press releases to local news outlets included with a picture for publication. Here is a template document to get you started!  (don’t forget to send us a copy if they make it to the paper!)

Press Releases and Program Documents:

Want to share this experience with your local community? Press releases for local newspapers are available by CLICKING HERE.

Didn’t get a program, or would like to send one to a friend who couldn’t attend? Programs from FRIDAY CONCERT & SATURDAY CONCERT. Programs from the Student recitals, Friday and Saturday also available (2015 Student Recital).

Tine Asmundsen – 2015 Bass Conference Clinicians


Tine Asmundsen, who also attended the Richard Davis Foundation’s Bass Conference as a clinician in 2012, will be flying in from Norway this April to teach at the conference again!


Tine Asmundsen BassGraduated from Østlandets Music Conservatory and the University of Wisconsin Madison United States. Ms. Asmundsen has played the upright bass with a number of bands, including Harmonius Wail (Madison local, national touring act) and Girl Talk. She has also played with Lonely Woman, Einar Iversen and Radius. Her private label Hazel Jazz which has 10 releases, one of which, Madison, was recorded as an album of accompanied bass duets with Richard Davis. Website, Wiki


Please welcome Tine to Madison again in 2015!

Jackie Pickett – 2015 Clinician

Dr. Jacqueline Pickett will be on the Richard Davis Foundation’s clinician faculty for the 2015 conference. She has worked with the conference for 6 years before, from 1997-2002, and is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin.

Jacqueline PickettShe is currently instructor of Double Bass at Columbus State University where she teaches both classical and jazz applied double bass lessons and coordinates the double bass studio. She currently serves as Principal Bass with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Dr. Pickett has performed and recorded with the Ritz Chamber Players, Nashville Chamber Orchestra (Orchestra Nashville), Pauline Oliveros’ New Circle Five, and Terry Riley’s Khayal. She has given solo double bass recitals in Johannesburg, South Africa and universities throughout the United States. She continues to present solo double bass recitals themed on current social issues.

Dr. Pickett is the founder of Torch Academy, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization promoting formal music instruction and social empowerment for underserved/at-risk youth, and the Metro Atlanta Women’s Jazz Society, an organization that offers big band and chamber ensembles dedicated to featuring women jazz artists. Dr. Pickett holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Double Bass Performance from University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University.

We are excited to have her join this year. Check back soon for the full clinician line up for the 2015 conference!

2015 Registration Now Open!

Hello RDYB friends! Registration for the 2015 conference is now open and ready to go. Print out and mail in registration form (new look) is available online Click here to download mail-in form (PDF).

For the second year in a row, online registration is also available.Online registration does cost a 5% surcharge, however as an online exclusive, you may pay for and reserve your 2015 conference t shirt with your registration.

Remember, recital performances are limited to the first 30 students, so register early to reserve your spot in a recital.

2014 Bass Conference Evening Concerts

The Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists annual conference supports two evening concerts after an invigorating day of classes. Saturday’s concert features the clinicians and foundation alumni, and Friday is an all conference mega bass orchestra.

Every year after leaving the Saturday night concerts, I can’t help but think, “that was the best concert ever, there is no way that it could ever be topped!” This year was no exception. This year, as always, the faculty stunned and amazed with a broad diversity of different styles and musical sounds including electric bass, ampeg baby bass, and a range of upright double basses. I think the thing that set this year apart the most, was the cozy Music Hall venue. Here, it was easy to witness some of the more tender and intimate sounds and nuances of the double bass. The clinicians carefully programmed the concert to take listeners on a sonic journey. Full Clinician Concert Program.

Friday night, students gave enthusiastic small group performances in trios to quintets and more. Following all small ensembles, all bass players united into a huge, two-tiered bass orchestra that spilled off of the stage onto the apron in the house. It was a true surround sound moment. Full Friday Student Concert Program.

RDYB @ Madison Soup

madisonsoup_logo_horizontalRDYB has been given the opportunity to present a ‘project idea’ at the Madison Soup this Sunday, March 16, 2014. This is the first of many scholarship fundraisers yet to come this year. Come support the foundation and scholarships for young bassists ! You must RESERVE TICKETS ahead of time online. We have already had 2 scholarship applicants this year– To keep the annual conference accessible to all young bassists that wish to attend, we will need more money this year and in the future. Read more about our scholarship program on our website HERE, and check back frequently, since the scholarship section is still new and constantly changing ! More information on the event below:


You! if you live or work in Madison, come check out the Soup on Sunday. Remember, the presenters with the most votes are the ones that get the $$ ! Tickets reserved or purchased ahead of time online. There will be one other charity at the soup this Sunday, The Lang Family House of Terror, a fundraiser to provide alternative activities for teens fighting addiction.

What is the Madison Soup?

The Madison Soup is a micro-granting organization that seeks to support projects that benefit the Madison area community. They bring in chefs from local restaurants to cook 2 (veggie and vegan friendly) soups, served while the local non profits are giving presentations. Attendees pay $10 for the meal (Menus different every time–March 16 menu available here), and listen to 2-5 non profits and charities present information about their projects.

Once everyone has presented, the audience (the diners) vote on the project that they want the money to go to. All of the proceeds from the dinner go to the organization that gets the most votes.


Sunday March 16, 2014.


Sector 67, 2100 Winnebago St., Madison, WI


Please Spread the Word,