The 2018 Austin Bass Workshop
Featuring pedagogy and group techniques from the legendary
                George Vance Workshops                                          

                     ALL AGES                                                                 ALL LEVELS                                                                  ALL STYLES

 JULY 17-20, 2018 


This year we are lucky to learn and play bass at the lovely campus of Huston-Tillotson University, in Downtoen Austin, Texas. 

Classes and performances in the King-Seabrook Chapel

Groups classes, rehaersals in the Jackson-Moody Humanities building.

900 Chicon Street

Austin, Texas 78702

PARKING on Clambers Street, north of East 7th





PAST Faculty and Guest Artists from July 2015, June 2016 and 2017.


Francois Rabbath(top)

Every now and then, just when you thought you had things all neatly arranged in their proper order, someone comes along and not only upsets everything you’ve done, but demands that you change your entire way of thinking before you can even begin to put them back together again. François Rabbath is one of those people.

Born in Aleppo, Syria into a musical family of six boys and four girls, François discovered the bass at the age of thirteen when one of his brothers brought an instrument home and allowed him to experiment with it. When the family moved to Beruit, Lebanon he found an old copy of Edouard Nanny’s Contrabass Method in a tailor shop and with some difficulty, since he read neither music nor French, began to teach himself.

After nine years of work in Beruit, François saved enough money to move to Paris for a year. He was eager to go to the Paris Conservatory, meet with Monsieur Nanny and show him what he was able to do with the bass. When he applied at the conservatory he was disappointed to learn that Nanny had died in 1947. He was also told that auditions were to be held in three days and that he would never have enough time to learn the required pieces. He asked for the music anyway and returned tree days later to finish first among the applicants. However, his stay at the conservatory was a brief one, since it didn’t take very long to see that he was not only far ahead of the other students but of the professors as well.

While in Paris he began to earn his living as an accompanist for Jacque Brel, Charles Asnavour, Edith Piaf, Gilbert Becaud, Michel Legrand, and others. In 1963 he made his first of many solo record albums. Although never advertised or promoted, the Phillips album Bass Ball became one of the most sought after recordings of its time. In 1964 he was actively composing music for movies and the theater. At the same time he started to play solo recitals, first in France, then throughout Europe. His American debut in Carnegie Hall in 1975, and his debut in London Wigmor Hall.

François Rabbath’s uniqueness stems from his refusal to accept any traditional limitations. Whether performing his own fascinating compositions, the music of others or the classical repertoire, one is always moved by his profound musicianship and dazzling virtuosity. You quickly discover that he brings you such a sense of security that the most difficult passages sound effortless.

In 1978 Rabbath met American composer/double bassist Frank Proto. A close friendship quickly developed when the two discovered that they had many shared musical experiences and philosophies. Neither had any respect for the boundaries that separated classical, jazz and ethnic musicians. Both were as comfortable playing chamber music at a formal concert one day and improvising with jazz musicians the next. In 1980 the Cincinnati Symphony asked Proto to compose a concerto especially for Rabbath. The resulting Concerto No. 2 for Double Bass and Orchestra was premiered by Cincinnati in 1981. Two years later the Houston Symphony asked Proto to write another work especially for Rabbath. The Fantasy for Double Bass and Orchestra was premiered in Houston in 1983. Rabbath has since played the work around the world.

Their third collaboration, the Carmen Fantasy, began life as a work for double bass and piano. Rabbath again premiered the work in Cincinnati in July of 1991 with the composer at the piano. Proto orchestrated the work in the spring of 1992. All three works have been recorded and are available on the Compact Disc Frank Proto: Works for Double Bass and Orchestra (Red Mark 9204). Their most recent collaboration has been on Proto’s Four Scenes after Picasso – Concerto No. 3 for double bass and Orchestra.

We are fortunate in that Rabbath has recorded constantly through the years. His sequel to Bass Ball - Multi Bass ’70 (Red Mark 9202) is still available, as is Live Around the World(Red Mark 9201), a collection of his own compositions recorded in Concert . The originalCarmen Fantasy for Double Bass and Piano with the composer at the piano, was recorded recently along with his own Concerto No. 3 and Two Miniatures - Carmen! (Red Mark 9203).

Sylvain Rabbath(top)


Sylvain Rabbath was born in 1984. He holds a classical piano diploma from the National Conservatoire in Paris, a bachelor’s degree of economic and social sciences, as well as a diploma from the Superior Institute of Technique of Sound (ISTS). He is currently completing his degree from the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Conservatory in Jazz Performance.

Sylvain’s many musical activities include composing music for singers and television, teaching sound engineering in the Superior School of Audiovisual Production (ESRA), as well as work as a recording and mixing engineer. He serves as a principal member of three bands performing jazz-funk, pop, and French electronic music. He serves as accompanist for his father, including concerts in Germany, Poland, France, England, Spain, Korea, Syria, Lebanon, and the USA

Jessica Valls(top)

Double bassist Jessica Valls is an Austin, Texas-native musician who exemplifies the ubiquitous artistry of a true music lover, heeding to no one genre, discipline, or stage. 


Performing regularly with several orchestras including the Austin and San Antonio Symphonies, Jessica is previous principal bassist for Orquestra da Rádio e Televisão Cultura in São Paulo, Brazil, and enjoys traveling to Brazil to perform and teach. She appears with chamber ensembles, jazz, tango and bluegrass bands, in studio recording sessions, on film soundtracks, television and radio jingles, and popular festival stages around the world such as The International Festival at Round Top and Encontro Brasileiro de Contrabaixos in Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil.


Jessica is a regular guest artist and clinician at the North Texas Bass Camps, the Austin Chamber Music Workshop, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, and the Victoria Bach Festival, among others.


A repeat presenter at the International Society of Bassists Convention, Jessica’s solo performances can be multi-instrumental, vocal and percussive. The use of multi-media tools allows her to expand her repertoire and adhere to different performance venues; adding to the growing pool of new works for solo double bass. 


Formal studies include Juilliard, Oberlin, The Manhattan School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin where she completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2010. 


Currently Dr. Valls is on faculty at Southwestern University, Huston-Tillotson University, The Girls’ School of Austin and maintains a private studio of budding string players of all ages.


Hans Sturm(top)

Past-President of the International Society of Bassists, Dr. Hans Sturm, has taught and toured on six continents as a symphonic, jazz, and chamber musician. He has contributed performances and compositions to over fifty jazz and chamber music recordings including releases on Blue Note, Music & Arts, Cadence, Innova, CRI, Centaur and Red Mark.

He produced the award-winning pedagogical DVDs The Art of the Bow and The Art of the Left Hand  that feature state-of-the-art biomechanics animations, user-selectable camera angles, live performances, interviews and have been sold in more than 40 countries.

Dr. Sturm has served on the juries of solo double bass competitions hosted by the American String Teacher’s Association (Chair), and the International Society of Bassists as well as competitions in France, Italy, Brazil, and China. His major teachers include Ferdinand Maresh (Philadelphia Orchestra), Anthony Bianco (Pittsburgh Symphony), Richard Davis (University of Wisconsin), Jeff Bradetich (Northwestern University), and François Rabbath. Hans is currently Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kate Jones(top)


Kate Jones is a freelance double bassist who teaches privately in her home studio in north Texas. Before living in Texas she taught private lessons at several locations in the Cleveland area.

In past summers she participated in summer festivals in France and New York and has taught at festivals in Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Texas. Jones studied with such bassists as Earl Gately, Judith Hanna, Jeff Bradetich, Max Dimoff, Charles Carleton, Scott Dixon, and Dalibor Tkadl?ik. She has also worked with Suzuki Bass teachers Virginia Dixon, Nicole Castleberry and Tracy Rowell.




Sonia Ray(top)

Double Bass Professor at the Federal University of Goiás in Goiânia. She holds both masters and doctoral degrees in Double Bass Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa (USA, 1998). She received a post-doctoral grant from Brazilian Government in 2008 to spend six months at the University of North Texas as a visiting professor/researcher. Ray has attending regularly to national and international artistic and scientific events on musical performance and cognition including events in the US (Interlochen, Houston, Indianapolis, Virginia, Denton, San Francisco and Fort Collins), London, Bologne (Italy), Wroclaw (Poland) and Porto (Portugal). A guest artist at International Society of Bassists conventions since 1993, Ray is also a co-founding member of ABC (Brazilian Society of Bassists) and ABRAPEM (Brazilian Society of Musical Performance).


Shawn Ellison(top)

Shawn Ellison has worked as a musician in Austin, Texas since 1982. He is a pianist, but has also performed as a composer, arranger, bandleader, organist, vocalist, musical director, and dance class accompanist. Mr. Ellison often performs as a soloist, but is equally comfortable performing with a duo, trio, quartet, quintet, or big band. He has been privileged to share the stage with Cat Anderson, Slide Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Gorshin, and Phyllis Diller. In 1985, his original dance suite “Texas” was performed at the University of Texas’ Bass Concert Hall. In 1986, he was asked by the Austin Music Umbrella to perform some of his original compositions in a composer's’ concert at the Dougherty Arts Center.

He has worked extensively with dancers and choreographers, and was integral in the formation of two children’s dance/movement programs, Believe In Me and Something’s Afoot. During his seven-year tenure as Musical Director for Something’s Afoot, Shawn wrote songs and composed instrumental music for three hour-long shows, which were performed at Bass Concert Hall in Austin.

His band, Native Sun, won Best Jazz Band in the Austin Chronicle Music Poll in 1990, 1991, and 1992. The band’s eponymous album included several original compositions, including “Salami Stomp” which won an award in the Austin Music Umbrella’s Composer’s Competition.

In 1990, Mr. Ellison traveled to Scotland with the UT Jazz Orchestra to perform in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. In 1998, he traveled to Japan to perform with the Legends in Concert. Mr. Ellison worked regularly with the Austin Jazz Workshop, an educational program for elementary schoolchildren, for four years. He is proud of his association with that organization and still performs with them from time to time.

Mr. Ellison has performed at Tarry House, a private club, since 1989. He has played at Truluck’s, Perry’s, the Driskill Hotel, Eddie V’s, the Four Seasons, and many other Austin venues. He has worked with Esther’s Follies and played for several years with Mr. Fabulous and his band. He recently played with the Austin Symphony Orchestra at the Long Center in a pops concert. He has worked at numerous churches, and currently serves as the pianist for Sunday evening services at St. James Episcopal Church in Austin. Shawn current served on the Executive Board of the Austin Federation of Musicians from 2012 to 2014. He is proud to be associated with Symphony of Soul, for whom he sometimes leads singalongs for Alzheimer’s patients. He continues to play at weddings, parties, and corporate events. He also accompanies ballet classes at Ballet Austin and at the University of Texas at Austin. He has worked with the Joffrey Workshop TX in San Antonio every summer since 1987. Native Sun, which split up in 1992, has recently re-formed with its original members and is playing in public once again.

Zachary Rizer(top)

Zach Rizer is a young, talented, and progressive bassist. Raised on funk and growing up in a family with a deep history and connection to jazz, he gravitates towards groove based, improvisational music. He has taught privately in the Kansas City area for around ten years, teaching everyone from beginners to professionals of all ages. He has been performing professionally since he was 18. He has been fortunate to study with many top players from around the world including Victor Wooten, Adam Nitti, Steve Bailey, and Anthony Wellington.

With his ‘funk-tronica’ band, Mouth, Zach has toured the country. At each show he tackles anything and everything from deep pocket hip hop, fusion, and dance grooves, all the way to showing off his technical prowess with complex melodic lines and solos. In true 21st century fashion, he is anything but an old-school player when it comes to his setup. Mouth’s three piece arrangement can sound like an eight piece band due to the band's live looping setup and the extensive use of effects pedals and other equipment. Sounds ranging from traditional bass, synth pads, screaming leads, sub synth bass lines, and much much more can be heard coming from his rig at every show. Whether playing solo or with a group, Zach always tries to bring something special to each and every show.


Sandor Ostlund(top)

Sandor Ostlund is Associate Professor of Double Bass at Baylor University and is an active and versatile performer and pedagogue. He has an eclectic musical background that includes solo, chamber, orchestral, early music, studio, jazz, and new music performances.

As a soloist, Dr. Ostlund has performed in recitals throughout the United States. He has appeared in featured performances at International Society of Bassists Conventions, as concert soloist with orchestras, in live radio broadcasts, and has premiered many works for solo double bass. He has recently released a solo CD of music written for him called Leap of Faith.

Ensembles that Dr. Ostlund has played with include the Detroit Symphony, the Washington Bach Consort, the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Context, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, the San Antonio Symphony, the National Philharmonic, Le Sinfonietta de Paris, the Madison Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony. Currently he is Principal Double Bassist with the Waco Symphony Orchestra and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.

He has been invited to teach and perform at clinics and universities including the Texas Music Festival, Penn State University, Northwestern University, SUNY-Stony Brook, James Madison University, Golden Gate Bass Camp, Colorado Suzuki Institute, American Festival for the Arts, Shenandoah Conservatory Performing Arts Festival, the Texas Double Bass Symposium, the TCU International Bass Festival, the Midwest Double Bass Symposium, and the annual Richard Davis Double Bass Conference.

Dr. Ostlund received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying with bass legend Richard Davis. He received his Master’s degree and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University, where he is the first and only double bassist to receive a DMA from esteemed performer and pedagogue Paul Ellison. He has also studied in Paris with renowned virtuoso François Rabbath, where he earned both the performing and teaching diplomas from L’Institut International François Rabbath. Before arriving at Baylor University, Dr. Ostlund held faculty appointments at West Texas A&M University and Shenandoah Conservatory.


Johnny Hamil(top)

John Hamil loves to teach and play music. He maintains a private studio of both Double & Electric bassists in the Kansas City area. His main focus is teaching young bassists (ages 3 and up) which was inspired and guided by the ground breaking pedagogue George Vance. Recently he has been interested in developing a sequential method of teaching improvisation/ composition in all styles of music that unlocks the creativity of the student. Many of his students go on to be comfortable performing in Orchestras, Jazz bands, and Rock groups. John graduated from Kansas University with a Bachelors of Music Education. He has studied Double Bass with Misha Krutz (K.C. Symphony), Lawrence Rice (Salt Lake Symphony) & François Rabbath (Paris, France). He is also founder and administrator to the Kansas City Bass Workshop (, a week-long intensive double bass festival now in its fourth year.

He plays nationally and internationally in Mr. Marco’s V7, the Malachy Papers, rock bands ERIC, and Pamper the Madman. He has recorded many CDs with all of these groups and has many compositions/tunes on each record. Last year’s independent release of his album Sparkin Your Mama by Mr. Marco’s V7 was elected as “one of the best of 2011” by The Kansas City Star’s Timothy Finn. Since his first gig was at 13 he has logged in more gigs than can be counted. Some highlights have been performing at the Telluride Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz festival, Music Action Festival (Nancy, France), International Society of Bassists Convention (San Francisco) and the George Vance Workshops. He also performs contemporary classical for the Kansas City based New Ear Ensemble. This is a small ensemble group in which he has performed such works by contemporary composer such as Xenakis, Kagel, Ligeti, and many more. He also works as a freelance and studio musician in and around the Kansas City area in the rock, jazz, and classical genres. Finally, he composes and performs his own solo Double Bass pieces as well as standard repertoire solo pieces in recitals.



David Neubert(top)

Gilles Duhaut(top)

Gilles Duhaut trained from 1973 to 1976 at the famous School of Violin and Bowmaking at Mirecourt, the Home of Violinmakers in France, under the guidance of Master Bowmaker Bernard OUCHARD.

Gilles Duhaut strives to keep up the tradition which has earned the French School of Bowmaking its reputation throughout the world.

To execute his skills, Gilles uses only the finest materials. Pernambouco wood is scrupulously chosen and selected to obtain the difficult compromise between elasticity, flexibility and tautness of the stick, in the steps of the grand French Masters of the 19th Century.

Gilles Duhaut endeavours to combine the strength of a rigid bow and the powerful sonority of a flexible bow in his creations. His personal aim is to satisfy the player’s ear, because the musician’s hand is guided by the sound.

Moreover, he works on his bows in order to provide a comfortable grip and easy play. The musician must become oblivious of his bow to immerse himself completely in the music.

His bows are entirely handmade, thus guaranteeing the originality of each piece. In the same spirit, Gilles Duhaut makes bows for violin, alto, cello and doublebass as well.

Gilles Duhaut believes that an instrument player is first and foremost a musician rather than a technician. This is the reason why he constantly strives to refine the resonance of a bow, being convinced that the strength of the sound produced by an instrument can be modified by the bow.

Doan Brian Roessler(top)

Doan Brian Roessler is a Buddhist priest, bassist, educator, and composer.

In 2002 Doan began his studies in Paris with François Rabbath. His work with Rabbath has been ongoing since then. Doan has received both diplomas awarded by the Rabbath Institute: the Teaching Diploma in 2009, and the Performance Diploma in 2015.

Doan founded the annual Twin Cities Bass Camp in 2013. He maintains an active teaching studio for bassists of all ages, styles, and experience levels in St. Paul, MN. He has also served as a faculty member for the Kansas City Bass Workshop.

Over the years Doan Roessler has collaborated with many extraordinary musicians, among them Nathan Hanson, Didier Petit, Dan Navarro, Peter Hennig, Anthony Cox, Denis Colin, Pablo Cueco, Erik Fratzke, Tony Hymas, Michael Zerang, Marc Anderson, Jean-Brice Godet, Jim Anton, Matt Otto, Sowah Mensah, and Kip Jones.

Doan regularly performs in a duo with saxophonist Nathan Hanson and Fantastic Merlins. Both groups have released several recordings to critical acclaim and have performed throughout the United States and France. Some notable venues include the Atlantique Jazz Festival (Brest), L’Arrosoir (Chalon sur Saône), Lizieres, Angora (Paris), Elastic (Chicago), Dialect (Charlotte), Ajmi (Avignon), Sons d’Hiver (Paris), and Studio Z (St. Paul).

Doan has composed music for his own performance on solo bass and many others including choreographer Sarah Hauss, Fantastic Merlins, and  the French documentary films Aller Simple and Hubert Nyssen – a livre ouvert.


Utah Hamrick(top)

Dr. Utah Hamrick is a jazz educator at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Central Michigan University and a DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Texas. He frequently performs with Austin-based composer Graham Reynolds, including collaborations with Forklift Danceworks on Power Up! And Play Ball!, Reynolds’ Marfa Triptych and the motion picture soundtracks for Bernie and All is Bright. Utah frequently performs with the Austin Symphony Big Band, Magnificent 7, Monster Big Band, and Strings Attached and can be heard on the upcoming animated short The Oceanmaker

Lauren Pierce(top)

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Lauren Pierce started her musical studies at the age of 7 on piano and voice. Later, she was introduced to the double bass and soon began lessons with Douglas Sommer, section bassist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Pierce continued her studies at the University of South Carolina under the tutelage of Dr. Craig Butterfield. While at USC, Lauren was given the Presser Scholar Award, named a Magellan Scholar, and, in 2010, performed a concerto with the University of South Carolina Symphony as the winner of the USC Concerto Competition. After graduating from USC, Lauren moved to Denton, Texas to study with Jeffrey Bradetich. While there, Lauren competed in the American String Teachers Association Competition and the International Society of Bassists Competition. In 2014, she was named coordinator of the Bradetich Summer Bass Camps.
Lauren has worked in many different genres and artistic mediums. In 2008, Lauren became a section member in the South Carolina Philharmonic. Lauren appeared as a soloist in the 2011 film “Luz,” by Los Angeles filmmaker Ellie Ann Fenton. She has recorded as a soloist on multiple albums, including singer-songwriter Collin Hauser’s debut album Collin Hauser with Grammy-award winning recording engineer Tim Kimsey, Fall River Footman’s Mullen Road, and R&B artist Mikaela Kahn’s Milk And Honey. Currently, Lauren is living in Austin, Texas as a performer and teacher.


Carlos Gaviria(top)

Carlos Gaviria currently serves on the faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University where he teaches Double Bass and Music Theory. He previously taught at the University of Houston and the University of North Texas. A native of Cali, Colombia, Carlos began his musical education at the Conservatorio Antonio Maria Valencia. While in Cali, Mr. Gaviria was a member of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle.

Gaviria came to the United States on a scholarship to study at the University of North Texas, where he completed the B.M. and M.M. While at UNT, he worked as a teaching assistant to the world-renowned bass teacher Jeff Bradetich. He is currently a doctoral candidate in double bass performance at the University of Houston, where he studies with Dennis Whittaker.

Gaviria is currently a member of Symphony of South East Texas and has performed regularly with many ensembles, including the symphony orchestras of Abilene, Irving, and Plano. He also has been a member of festival orchestras, including the AIMS orchestra in Graz, Austria, Cali de Camara in Colombia, and the Texas Music Festival Orchestra.

Gaviria is a dedicated pedagogue and was active as a bass instructor in the Dallas and Houston areas for several years; many of his students have been placed in All-State orchestras and have gone on to be accepted into music programs at major American universities. He has taught at the Abilene Summer Music Festival and at the Bradetich Annual Summer Bass Camps since 2009, and he has presented master classes at UT Panamerican and Universidad del Valle in Colombia. He currently resides in Kingwood, where he maintains a full private teaching studio.


Janice Fehlauer(top)

Canadian pianist Janice Fehlauer was the gold medalist of the Wideman International Piano Competition and the winner of the University of North Texas Concerto Competition, and won second prize in the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition and the Hodges Competition for 20th-Century Music.  She has appeared as a concerto soloist in the USA with the Mississippi, North Florida, Meridian, Lewisville, Clear Lake, and UNT symphony orchestras, and in Canada with the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack Metropolitan orchestras. Janice has also performed solo recitals for the Philips Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Series in Chicago, broadcast live on WFMT.

In addition to her solo performances, Janice is a sought-after collaborative pianist who was on the staff of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria for two summers.  She served at The Dallas Opera as repetiteur and as assistant chorus master, and has also played and coached for Houston Grand Opera’s educational programs, Fort Worth Opera, UNT Opera Theater, Moores Opera Center, and the Houston Symphony Chorus.

Janice began her musical training in her hometown in British Columbia, where she received the Associate Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in both piano and violin.  She also holds degrees in music from the University of British Columbia, the University of North Texas, and the University of Houston.

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Shawn Conley(top)

Bassist Shawn Conley grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii.  While in high school, he won a position in the Honolulu Symphony, and both the State and Southwest divisions of the MTNA solo string competition.  He continued his studies at Rice University with Paul Ellison where he received both bachelors and masters degrees in music performance.  Shawn also won a Wagoner fellowship to study in Paris with legendary bassist and pedagogue François Rabbath, earning both performance and teaching diplomas.  Shawn has attended many prestigious summer festivals including The Tanglewood Music Center, The Henry Mancini Institute, Domaine Forget Academy.  Along with teaching privately, Shawn has been on the faculty of the Hawaii Contrabass festival for its past two sessions, in 06’ and 08’.  In 2007 he was the third place winner at the International Society of Bassist Scott LaFaro Jazz competition.  Shawn currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.