John Burgess


Adapted for electric double bass


A graduate of the Australian National University’s School of Music, John is a Canberra-based bassist and composer, primarily focused on original solo works for the electric bass. While he plays acoustic double bass and bass guitar, the electric double has become his primary instrument and it features in many of his compositions. John performs at local festivals and events and has been a regular performer at Canberra's Floriade Festival. John was a soloist with the international YouTube Symphony Orchestra, which performed at the Sydney Opera House in March 2011. Conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, John performed his own solo in a new orchestral composition by Mason Bates. It was streamed live to a worldwide audience over YouTube and attracted 33 million viewers.,youtube-symphony-attracts-33-million-views-worldwide.aspx

What is your favourite Concerto?

Elgar's Cello Concerto

Career Highlight?

Soloing with the international YouTube Symphony at the Sydney Opera House and streaming live to 33 million people.

What inspired you to choose/compose this piece?

I chose the Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez because I have experimented with the piece over a number of years in an open-form improvised way, particularly inspired by the bassist Miroslav Vitous and his interpretation of the piece. Even when following the original orchestral accompaniment, there is a large amount of freedom in what the soloist can add or modify in the piece, making it an ideal piece to incorporate improvisational elements.

What should the audience look out for when listening?

If you're familiar with Concierto de Aranjuez, then you can expect a lot of new sounds in the performance. I have attempted to capture what the guitar brings to the original piece, but my intention is not to emulate the guitar. I am bringing a new instrument to the piece, which has a different range of strengths and weaknesses compared to the guitar, and I will also bring a new stylistic approach.

How has technology changed your relationship to making and listening to music?     

By spending time and energy in understanding how my musical tools work, I have been able to modify my instruments to feel and sound in a way that expresses myself most effectively. I am able to create a greater array of sounds simultaneously through ever advancing computer technology. Computers also expand my horizons as a composer, allowing me to create timbres outside the capabilities of my bass.These combined allow me to create a varied range of music by myself. Finally, I am able to record and distribute the music to anywhere on the planet through the internet, and listen to others doing the same. The quantity, variety and availability of music is greater than any time in history.