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. In the Summers he serves as Principal Bass with the Sun Valley Music Festival. A member of the faculties at the San Francisco Conservatory and the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Tramontozzi has also led master classes across the US, and he has coached members of the SFS Youth Orchestra bass section since its inception in 1981. He also formerly served on the faculties of Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has produced three solo CDs, “Walkabout”, “Home Bass” and “Urban Bass” available on the various music streaming services(Spotify, Prime, Apple Music etc.). They include a variety of music for double bass and piano or other instruments which he performs with Keisuke Nakagoshi on piano and with members of the SF Symphony. Other 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. His publications include The Solo Cello Suites of J.S. Bach for Double Bass Nos. 1,2,3,4,5 and various other works for double bass.
- Applied Lessons
- Double Bass Class
- MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- BM, New England Conservatory of Music
- San Francisco Symphony, Associate Principal, 1980–Present
- San Francisco Opera Orchestra, 1979–1980
- San Jose Symphony, 1979–1980
- Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil, 1978–1979
- Boston Musica Viva, 1976–1978
What is your hometown?
Arlington, Massachusetts (suburb of Boston)
What is your favorite recording?
The 6 Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach as performed by Anner Bylsma. He brings these iconic masterpieces to life with fresh energy, insight, virtuosity and deep expression.
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Who were your major teachers?
Robert Olson (Boston Symphony), Oscar Zimmerman (Eastman School of Music), and Larry Wolfe (Boston Symphony and New England Conservatory).
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
Strive for connection in the left hand at all times and the bow will make beautiful music.
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
“Can you help me set goals?”
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
I was compelled to make that decision at the young age of 15. I thought quietly about my interests and realized that my greatest passion was for music.
What was a turning point in your career?
Playing a great audition and winning the job with the San Francisco Symphony.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Architect. I was always interested in the historic periods of architecture. I took classes in mechanical and architectural design.
What is your daily practice routine?
Warm up the voice (bow arm) and do some technical exercises. Then I develop and work on particular exercises that relate to the pieces that I'm working on and then I apply all that to those pieces.
What are your most important collaborations?
Recorded the Books of Madrigals by George Crumb under his supervision; Recorded the keyboard concerti of J.S. Bach with Awadagin Pratt and the St. Lawrence Quartet; Recorded a CD of chamber music by Lou Harrison under his supervision.
What are your academic publications?
The Solo Cello Suites of J.S. Bach for Double Bass Nos. 2, 3, and 4.
What recordings can we hear you on?
Walkabout (Solo CD), CD Baby
The Keyboard Concerti and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 of J.S. Bach, Angel Records
The Book of Madrigals 1-4 by George Crumb, Bridge Records
Home Bass (Solo CD), CD Baby
What is your unrealized project?
I have transcribed and edited the solo Cello Suites of J.S. Bach, Nos. 2, 3, and 4 for the double bass. I would like to do the same for Suites 1, 5, and 6.