The Milt Hinton Bass Institute faculty include members of the conservatory's jazz studies and strings divisions, as well as soloists and musicians from a range of ensembles and groups. The faculty offers a breath of professional and performance experience from a range of musical genres.
Faculty will provide a singular leaning experience sure to engage and help aspiring musicians understand the role and significance of this grand instrument used in various groups and compositions.
Oberlin Associate Professor of Jazz Arranging Jay Ashby believes strong arranging is as important as strong composing. Even more important, he adds, is “the ability to put your music in the best possible light.” A five-time Grammy Award-winning producer, Ashby has received nominations in other categories including arranging and engineering. He is known for his performances with such music icons as Paquito D’Rivera and Paul Simon, making him an exceptional musician and one of the most highly regarded performers and arrangers working in the field today.
Bassist and Luthier Bruno Destrez graduated from Nice Conservatoire National and Berklee College of Music. He has toured internationally as a sideman and band leader and has had the privilege to play concerts with Milt Hinton. As a luthier, Destrez has adapted his revolutionary techniques to the instruments of symphony orchestras around the world and to some of some of the greatest jazz bass players. He is dedicating his life to create an educational program for Bass luthiers.
Maximilian Dimoff is principal double bass of the Cleveland Orchestra and heads the double bass department at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, Carnegie Hall, and in tours to Europe. Dimoff has taught master classes at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Michigan, among others. He is a coach and teacher with the New World Symphony in Miami. He performs on a double bass from 1651 by Antonio Mariani.
Virginia Dixon is one of two Bass Teacher Trainers for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the only Bass Trainer for the European Suzuki Association. Her trainees include bass professors, orchestra bassists, active performers, and conservatory students from 20 countries. Her mission has taken her to Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Lima, Davos, and Edmonton, as well as across the United States. She is presently on the faculties of Elmhurst College and the Suzuki School of Elgin.
Director of the Milt Hinton Institute, Peter Dominguez, Oberlin Conservatory professor of jazz studies and double bass, was the first recipient of the Milton J. Hinton Scholarship, which allowed him to complete his doctorate at the University of Miami. He has worked with a range of jazz, Latin, and classical artists including Benny Carter, Woody Shaw, Jon Hendricks, the St. Petersburg Quartet, the Fontana Chamber Players, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and others. He teaches and adjudicates at International Society of Bassists conferences, international master classes and competitions, and the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists annual conference.
Born in Newport News, Virginia, Billy Drummond was leading his own bands from the age of 8 and was teaching adults by the time he was 14. In the late 1980s he moved to New York, where he was almost immediately recruited to the young band Out of the Blue, recording Spiral Staircase for Blue Note Records. Soon after, he became a member of Horace Silver's sextet and then J.J. Johnson's band, followed by a three-year stint touring with Sonny Rollins. Acclaimed by DownBeat as "one of the hippest bandleaders now at work," Drummond plays with the New York-based ensemble Freedom of Ideas.
Diana Gannett is Oberlin Conservatory professor emerita of bass. She maintains a studio at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where many of her students have gone on to win competitions and positions in key festivals and orchestras. Her other teaching appointments have included Yale University School of Music, Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, and the University of Iowa. A solo and chamber musician, Gannett has performed with the artists of the Guarneri, Emerson, Laurentian and Stanford Quartets and the Borodin Trio.
Ann Gilbert has served as principal bass for the Symphonic Orchestra of the State of Mexico in Toluca, assistant principal bass with the Oregon Symphony, and in the Symphonic Orchestra of Seville, Spain. She has taught music at public and private institutions throughout northeast Ohio and currently teaches Suzuki and traditional bass for the Cleveland Music Settlement. She plays principal bass for the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Akron Symphony, and the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, and is a member of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. Gilbert is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the University of Akron.
Two-time Grammy Award-winner Eddie Gomez has been on the cutting edge of music for more than four decades. He has performed with jazz giants such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, and Benny Goodman. His unique sound and style can be heard on many Grammy-winning records as well as on hundreds of recordings spanning the worlds of jazz, classical, Latin jazz, rhythm & blues, popular, and contemporary music.
Audrey John Melzer is director of orchestras for Oberlin City Schools and a faculty member with Oberlin's Community Music School. A strings specialist, she has advocated bass education and mentored young musicians for 20 years. Melzer began playing bass in her school orchestra program. She has a degree in music education at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Henry Peyrebrune. The Suzuki-trained bass instructor is pursuing a master's degree in music education at Kent State University.
Mimi Jones of New York is a multitalented bassist, vocalist, and composer. She released her debut CD A New Day in 2009. Jones has performed or recorded with Lionel Hampton, Kenny Barron, Tia Fuller, and Terri Lyne Carrington. She studied with Lisle Atkinson, Ron Carter, and Milt Hinton. She has toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and has performed on five continents as a U.S. Jazz Ambassador.
John Kennedy is orchestra director of Warner Middle School the Farmington (MI) Public Schools, principal bass of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Oakland Youth Orchestra. He maintains a private studio. Nationally recognized as a clinician and teacher of young string bassists, Kennedy has served on the International Society of Bassists and has spearheaded its annual conventions. Also a composer and arranger, he has written more than 25 arrangements and compositions for young bass ensembles and youth orchestras.
David Murray has an international reputation as a solo bassist and teacher. He is currently professor of bass at Butler University in Indianapolis and principal bassist of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. He also plays as principal bassist with Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois, and at the Bear Valley Music Festival in northern California. In 1981 he won the Aspen concerto competition, and in 1988 he won the International Society of Bassists (ISB) Solo Competition and the first prize of a solo debut at Carnegie Hall.
Tracy Rowell is a teacher of double bass at Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Program. She is a frequent clinician at such workshops as Peabody Bass works, the Kansas Bass Workshop, and the Institute Francois Rabbath-George Vance Summer Bass Workshop. She currently serves as principal bass for CityMusic Cleveland and performs with Apollo’s Fire. She is a soloist and chamber musician, having collaborated with Cavani, St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Parker string quartets.
Donovan Stokes enjoys a varied career of performing, composing, writing and teaching and has given classes and performed as soloist throughout the U.S., in Mexico, Norway, Italy, England, France and the Czech Republic. His solo recording Gadaha garnered two JPF Music Award rankings for Best Album and Best Instrumental Song. Described as a musician who “paints primary colours and subtle shades to considerable effect” (The Double Bassist), Stokes is also noted for his “eye-popping display of technical wizardry and showmanship” (Madison Jazz). A Full Professor at Shenandoah University-Conservatory, he teaches jazz and classical bass and acts as String Chair. He is also a slap bass specialist and an expert on the life and music of Rodion Azarkhin.
"An omnivorous musician, bassist Sam Suggs became Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places Fellow in 2016 and received an award for Extraordinary Creativity at the 2017 Bradetich Foundation International Double Bass Competition for his "brilliant and compelling programming" (The Strad). One of Musical America's New Artists of the Month, Sam won first prize at the 2015 International Society of Bassists Competition, performing many of his own compositions. He has received commissions from BMI, ISB, and New Morse Code.
Ben Williams is an acclaimed bassist, bandleader, performer, music educator, and composer who has performed with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Pharrell Williams, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Kahn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Benny Golson, and Stefon Harris, just to name a few. In 2016, he graced the stage at the White House with a star-studded group of artists hosted by the Obamas. In 2009 he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Award that landed him his first record-deal with Concord Records. He won his first Grammy Award with the Pat Metheny Unity Band for Best Jazz Instrumental Album of 2012.
Inez Wyrick is an internationally acclaimed educator who specializes in precollege bass education and the pedagogic use of the bass ensemble. She has held positions with Indiana University String Academy, Amarillo College, and Odessa College. She founded the Amarillo Bass Base ensemble that enjoyed an international reputation. Wyrick has a bass studio both in person and via Video Software to teach students from around the country. She is co-artistic director for the Bass Coalition Summer Workshop. An active lecturer and clinician, Wyrick regularly participates in the Richard Davis Bass Weekend in Madison, WI.