Featured Alumni – Cooper Schlegel

A recent post quoted Victor Wooten’s mama via his website: “What does the world need with just another good musician? We have plenty. What the world needs are good people!”  – I can say with confidence that Cooper Schlegel  is one of those good people, (and a good musician too!) I’m truly grateful to know him as a person and musician, and know I can speak for everyone involved with the conference, when I say, we look forward to welcoming Cooper back to Madison and to RDYB as an alumni Clinician this year! 

Since recently graduating UW Madison (as one of Richard’s last bass students before retirement) Cooper has, since moved back to Washington State and is carving out his place in the scene in Olympia. He is actively performing, composing music, and maintains a uniquely creative radio show. 

Many of you may know Cooper from his work with the Richard Davis Young Bassists’ (RDYB) Sibling Ensemble. The comedy act about the bus driver… the percussion toys… Last year, after the sibling band’s last piece, “Don’t Give Up”, there was not a dry eye in the audience. If you saw that performance- you know what I mean. I will never forget Cooper’s senior recital – a similar experience. The intensity of feeling in reaction to the vulnerability and honesty of a (semi-autobiographical) duo performance art work explored a depth of emotion that only art can. I think that pretty much sums Cooper up better than I, or any traditional musician bio can really say.

Alumni Clinician - Cooper Schlegel




Help set Richard’s legacy in stone – Literally.

Go-Fund Me Campaign – Historical Marker on Richard Davis Lane 

Many will join me in saying that knowing Richard, through his teaching or otherwise, has left an impression on our lives. Help make his impact known for generations to come by contributing to an historical marker being placed on newly dedicated Richard Davis Lane, in Madison, WI. The street is brand new in the Darbo Neighborhood on the East Side of Madison, WI. Read the full story by the Capital City Hues:  “Street named in Richard Davis’ Honor – Full Story 

Richard Davis Lane Unveiling

This is a photo of Wilder Dietz, former student of Richard’s and neighborhood association member, unveiling the official Richard Davis Lane Street Sign at Overture Center’s Tribute to Richard Davis in Oct. 2018 – Photo by Amadou Kromah


Pre-Bass Conference Bass Concert Opportunity

On Thursday, April 18th – the eve of 26th annual Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists Conference (RDYB) – the Victor Wooten Band & the Wooten Woods Experience will be playing at the Wisconsin Union Theater – just down the block from the Pyle & Lowell Centers on Langdon St. If you’re in town that night, it’s a bass featuring show not-to-be-missed! In addition, our friends at the Wisconsin Union Theater have arranged a pre-show meet and greet with Mr. Wooten and his band, as well as discounted tickets available to all conference young bassists, volunteers and their families. Tickets are on sale now, and details & discount code will be provided through your young bassist’s RDYB conference registration confirmation email. 

Concert featuring the bass

Victor Wooten Band & Woods Experience Concert @ the WI Union Theater April 18, 2019 – Discount Tickets for RDYB Students

This show is unique in that, in addition to Mr. Wooten and his band, it will feature a group of students in a performance based on the music and nature programs at the Victor Wooten Center for Music & Nature – known as the Wooten Woods Experience Tour (read more at No Treble).

Wooten grew up in a musical family and performed widely with his five brothers as a youngster. He is today probably most commonly known as a virtuoso bassist and 5-time Grammy Award winner, and founding member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He has won every major bass award and was voted by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2011 to be one of the “top ten bassists of all time.” He has recorded with artists such as Prince, Chick Corea, Bootsy Collins, Branford Marsalis, and many more. His solo-track album “A Show of Hands” is considered one of the most important bass records of all time.

His innovative bass style and approach to music have inspired thousands of learners, and as with Richard Davis, the power of music to bring people together is a major theme for Victor. Leadership in musical education is a natural extension of his family culture, where his mother would tell her boys, “What does the world need with just another good musician? We have plenty. What the world needs are good people!” (Mama Wooten Quote on the Victor Wooten homepage, https://www.victorwooten.com/bio)

In 2000 he established his first Bass/Nature Camp, which has since grown into the Victor Wooten Center for Music & Nature. Like Richard Davis, Wooten resonates with the potential for personal growth and connection – for becoming better, more inclusive, people – through music. From his musical commencement speech at the University of Vermont, Burlington, in June 2016:

“I always felt that music is a good way to address the world’s issues. The best bands I’ve ever played in all the instruments were different. We don’t curse those differences. We bless them. That’s why I think the whole world should learn to play music. Then we might understand that differences are a blessing, not a curse.” (https://speakola.com/grad/victor-wooten-university-of-vermont-rubenstein-2017)

His 2008 book, The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music, has become essential reading for musicians everywhere.

To explore the wonderment of Victor Wooten, visit his YouTube channel .


So come to the show on April 18th, then bring all of that fresh inspiration with you to the 2019 RDYB Conference!

Written by Diana Wheeler 

2019 Featured Alumni

This year Paul Kowert will be featured as a distinguished alumni for the Richard Davis Foundation’s 26th annual bass conference. We are very pleased that he can make it back!

Paul Kowert – 2019 Featured Alumni

Paul Kowert grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Upon graduating from The Curtis Institute of Music in 2009, he joined the band Punch Brothers and moved to Brooklyn, NY. Since then they have made three albums, contributed music to “The Hunger Games,” “This is Forty,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis,” appeared on Austin City Limits and the Coen Brothers’ concert documentary “Another Day, Another Time,” and various other fun things.

In addition to playing with Punch Brothers, Paul has toured and recorded with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, David Rawlings, and Hawktail. In recent years, he has been a frequent band member on the radio show “Live From Here.” Paul lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Video clip of Unless, the debut album from Hawktail, Paul’s band with Jordan Tice, Brittany Haas and Dominick Leslie.

Get to know Paul & what he’s listening to more thought his curated Spotify playlist, “Picker’s Primer.”