Robert Nairn is Professor of Double bass at Penn State University, on the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York, and a Kulas Visiting Artist at Case Western Reserve University. He is past-president of the International Society of Bassists and hosted the Society’s 2009 Convention at Penn State. In 2008 he was awarded a Howard Foundation Fellowship from Brown University. A native of Australia, he received his Bachelor of Music with distinction from the Canberra School of Music and a post-graduate diploma from the Berlin Musikhochschule by courtesy of a two-year DAAD German Government Scholarship. His teachers have included Klaus Stoll, Tom Martin, and Max McBride.
Rob’s performing experience covers Contemporary, Jazz, traditional Orchestral, and Historical Performance Ensembles, with a career that has spanned Europe, the U.S. and Australasia. He has performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Melbourne Symphony, the Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players, the Australia Ensemble, The Australian World Orchestra and the Australian String Quartet. He has acted as guest Principle Bassist with the Halle Orchestra, the London Mozart players, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and held the position of Principle bass with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist he has performed concerti with the Australian Chamber, Adelaide and Darwin symphony orchestras and Handel and Haydn Society.
Rob has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical , EMI, Naxos, Tall Poppies, RCA and ABC Classics; he recently released a CD of double bass and viola duos by American composers and a solo CD of Australian music for bass will be released on the Tall Poppies label in 2014. His recording on the English ‘Coro’ label of Mozart’s “Per Questa Balla Mano” was the first on Viennese bass and his duo CD of the repertoire of Dragonetti and Lindley was released in Oct 2012. A review in the ‘Strad’ described how the players ‘demonstrate their virtuosity and excellent rapport’.
In the Historical performance world he holds the position of Principal Double Bass with the Handel Haydn Society and the Boston Early Music Festival; he is a member of Juilliard Baroque and has also worked with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, the English Baroque Soloists, Concerto Caledonia, Washington Bach Consort, the Aulos Ensemble, Rebel, Florilegium and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Rob is also active in commissioning new works and has premiered more than forty compositions for both solo bass and chamber music featuring the bass, championing in particular the music of Australian composers. In these performances he has worked both alone and with such groups as the London Sinfonietta, Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin, Australysis, the Music Theatre of Wales, and the Sydney Alpha Ensemble. In 2009 he premiered a new concerto by Barry Conyngham. He has performed recitals in Europe, Scandinavia, China, the U.S. and Australia.