Scott Pingel became Principal Bass of the San Francisco Symphony in 2004, having previously served in that position with the Charleston Symphony. Prior to that, he was a member of the New World Symphony. He has also served as guest principal with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Mr. Pingel received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Manhattan School of Music. Also a jazz musician, he has worked with artists including Michael Brecker, Geoff Keezer, and James Williams.
Dan Smith was appointed Associate Principal Bass of the San Francisco Symphony in 2017. He previously served as principal bass of the Santa Barbara Symphony from 2014 to 2017, and was a member of the San Diego Symphony from 2015 to 2017. He has served as guest principal and associate principal with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and guest principal of the Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, MN. He has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, and New World Symphony. Mr. Smith received his Bachelor of Music from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of Timothy Pitts. After four years in school pursuing music, as well as a biochemistry minor, Mr. Smith traveled to Bali, Indonesia, where he spent four months volunteering and teaching music at the Bali Life orphanage.
Stephen Tramontozzi serves as San Francisco Symphony Assistant Principal Bass, occupying the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Chair. A native of Arlington, MA, he studied at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the San Francisco Conservatory, and joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1980. He has been Principal Bass with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 2004. A member of the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory since 1985, Mr. Tramontozzi has led master classes across the US, and he has coached members of the SFS Youth Orchestra bass section since its inception. He also formerly served on the faculties of Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz. His publications include The Solo Cello Suites of J.S. Bach for Double Bass Nos. 2, 3, and 4 and recordings include the Books of Madrigals by George Crumb under his supervision; the keyboard concertos of J.S. Bach with Awadagin Pratt and the Saint Lawrence Quartet; and a CD of chamber music by Lou Harrison. Mr. Tramontozzi has recently released a solo CD with Keisuke Nakagoshi on piano of a variety of music for double bass.
Charles Chandler is the first member of the SFS Youth Orchestra to have become a member of the San Francisco Symphony. He studied with Shinji Eshima of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and with David Walter at Juilliard. Prior to joining the SFS in 1992, he performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and served as associate principal bass of the Phoenix Symphony.
Member since 1981
Hometown: Northridge, CA
I love improvisational theater. Doing improv requires amazing listening skills and the ability to be present—what drives a scene is how you listen and relate to someone else on stage. I also do a great deal of Feldenkrais, the movement method, which helps with my own health and well-being as well as my playing.
I enjoy listening to the Guarneri Quartet playing late Beethoven string quartets; also recordings of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert lieder. I love listening to him because of the quality of his sound and his amazing musicality—it’s all so perfect and effortless.
Advice for aspiring musicians:
Take a movement class. It makes such a difference to become aware of what you’re doing with your body while you’re playing. Take yoga or Feldenkrais, whatever it is—this is especially true for young bass players, because bass is such a physical instrument. Also, I think it’s important to learn and practice music away from your instrument. Study scores, practice visualization, and listen.
SFS member since: 1983
Hometown: West Islip, NY
Music schools you attended: Eastman, Juilliard
Began playing music: At age 6
Musical inspirations: Attending School of Orchestral Studies at Saratoga, NY, summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra
If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: Chef
Favorite composers: Mahler, Stravinsky
Favorite works featuring my instrument: Mahler, Symphony No. 1; Stravinsky, Firebird Suite and Rite of Spring
When I’m not working, I enjoy: Fly fishing, golf
Recent reading: Undaunted Courage, by Stephen Ambrose
On my CD player/iPod: Various jazz artists
Favorite thing to do in the Bay Area: Spending a day out at Point Reyes for relaxation.
S. Mark Wright, a native of Emporia, KS, attended the Interlochen Music Camp as a child and studied bass with Larry Hurst at the University of Michigan. He played in the Detroit Symphony throughout the summer of 1986, joining the San Francisco Symphony in September of that year. For more on Mark Wright, visit sfsymphony.org/markwright.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102
Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm
Sat: Noon - 6pm
Sun: 2 hours prior to concerts
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