david arend  bassist, composer   



Double bassist and composer David Arend creates music drawing upon modern classical, jazz and electroacoustic music. He performs with orchestras, chamber ensembles and jazz combos and has improvised extensively with electronic, singer-songwriter and hip hop artists. His compositions have been performed in the Americas, Europe, the U.K., Asia and the Middle East by such performers as Alchemy Sound Project, West Point Woodwind Quintet, clarinet soloist Jonathan Aubrey, DJs and electronic music producers, and members of the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Nashville Symphony. David premiered his own concertos with San Francisco Academy Orchestra and Philharmonia Northwest. He recorded these works with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra for the acclaimed album Astral Travels released on Navona Records/Naxos.

Arend earned degrees in classical double bass and English literature at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music under Scott Haigh (Cleveland Orchestra), and a Master of Music in classical double bass at The Juilliard School under Eugene Levinson (New York Philharmonic). He earned a 4-year fellowship with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble under composer/conductor George Tsontakis, with whom David presented several premieres and collaborated with composers such as Thomas Adés and Chen Yi. He has also worked with composers George Crumb, Tan Dun, Bobby McFerrin, John Williams and Santana. David performed on composer John Psathas’ recording Rhythm Spike, named New Zealand’s 2000 Classical Record of the Year.

Having dabbled in composition for several decades, at age 38 David composed his first major work, Sequoia Sempervirens, a concerto for double bass and chamber orchestra. He premiered the work in 2010 as solo bassist with the San Francisco Academy Orchestra. During this period Arend appeared regularly as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony and freelanced with many San Francisco Bay Area ensembles. David studied composition in his 40’s with Simon Bokman, a student of Galina Ustvolskaya, herself a protégé of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Arend was selected in 2012 to participate in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, a program designed by Columbia University and the American Composers Orchestra. At this weeklong intensive he met several composer-performers with whom he would form the collective Alchemy Sound Project. Their debut recording was named a Best of Jazz 2016 by DownBeat magazine in the U.S. and by UKVibe in the U.K..

In 2013 Arend responded to a competitive call for scores by the West Point Woodwind Quintet, working feverishly to compose a wind quintet in five days. The ensemble selected his resultant work Corps Remembered as the closer for their Civil War-themed concert. This led him to participate as a composer-performer at the 2013 Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in New York City.

David then took on his largest composition project to date, Voyager: Three Sheets to the Wind, a double concerto for double bass, tenor saxophone and orchestra. A high point in the composition process was a telephone conversation with Professor Ed Stone, project scientist for the Voyager mission. The composition includes fully-composed as well as improvised sections for the soloists and was premiered with Seattle’s Philharmonia Northwest, conductor Julia Tai and saxophonist Michael Brockman. David recorded Sequoia Sempervirens and Voyager with the Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic) and saxophonist Salim Washington (South Africa). The recording was received with critical acclaim and given five stars by the venerable classical music periodical Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, based in Leipzig, Germany.

David has performed at music festivals such as Aspen, Bellingham, Cabrillo, Mendocino, Telluride, Woodstockhausen, and Pacific Music Festival, Japan. He was a guest artist at Seattle Latin American Music Festival, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Composers Inc. and NWEAMO electroacoustic festival of bent electronica. Hip hop and hybrid electronica appearances include Envision Festival and Bamboo Bass Festival (Costa Rica), Roter Salon and Zu mir oder zu Dir (Berlin, Germany), the Cryptoportico at the American Academy (Rome, Italy), The New Parish (Oakland, CA) and San Francisco’s Mezzanine, Ruby Skye, 111 Minna, John Colins, Varnish, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The De Young Museum.

Arend has recently ventured into scoring for film. He scored and co-produced the animated short film Changyou’s Journey, winner of several film festival prizes in 2018 including Best of Indie Youth - Arizona International Film Festival; Youth Film Showcase Gold - Newport Beach Film Festival; Best Animated Short, 2D Drama: Family - Palm Springs International Animation Festival. The film also qualified for the 2019 Oscars. David recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA, where his first concerts were as acting principal bass of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

David has recorded for San Francisco Symphony Media, Rattle Records (New Zealand), Odd-Shaped Case, Dapper Music, Navona Records/Naxos, Origin Records and Artists Recording Collective.

top photo courtesy Steve Rowland


“Arend is a gifted pictorialist... [he] devises movement forms in which the relationship between jazz and compositionally specified music is not the point of the piece

in and of itself, but integrally contributes to the overall mode of expression.”

4.5/5 stars     -James Manheim, AllMusic.com