Hans Sturm

Hixson-Lied Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies
Area of Focus: Jazz Studies, Strings

Double bassist Hans Sturm has performed as soloist, chamber, orchestral, jazz and improvisational musician throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, Africa and the United States. Sturm received his doctorate from Northwestern University and, prior to his appointment to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies and Coordinator of the String Department at Ball State University for seventeen years, now Professor Emeritus.

Sturm has appeared with a variety of artists across the spectrum of jazz music including Eddie Daniels, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, Dick Hyman, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Eddie Higgins, David Baker, Stanley Jordan, Peter Erskine, Joe LaBarbera, Alan Dawson, Bela Fleck, Howard Levy and many others. A frequent performer of chamber music, Sturm has toured with 'Fireflight' (soprano, Japanese koto and bass koto, double bass, and percussion) and 'Trinkle Brass Works Trio' (trumpet, marimba and double bass) for more than twenty years. He has worked in the electronic medium with composers such as Cleveland Scott and Joan Wildman. As an orchestral bassist, he has served as principal bassist of numerous regional orchestras including the Muncie Symphony, Quad Cities Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Dorian Opera, Rockford Symphony, and Racine Symphony and toured Europe as a member of the American Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra.

Highlights of Sturm's festival appearances include the Beijing International Chamber Music Festival; the Faneza International Chamber Music Festival in various cities in Emilia Romagna, Italy; the Scottish Bass Trust's International Convention and the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh Scotland; the College Music Society International Conference in Kyoto, Japan; Encontro de instrumentistas in Joao Pessoa and Belo Horizonte, Brazil; the Biennial International Symposium on Arts and Technology in New London, Connecticut; a State Department tour of Morocco; BASS2008 at the Paris Conservatoire and BASS2010 at the Universitat der Kunst in Berlin; BASS2012 in Copenhagen; International Society of Bassists Conventions in eight states; and jazz festivals and clubs in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Atlanta.

He has served as Jury Chair for the American String Teacher's Association Double Bass Solo Competition and the International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition, as well as judge for the International Society of Bassists Solo and Composition Competitions and various competitions in France, Italy, Brazil, and China.

Sturm has contributed performances and compositions to more than fifty recordings with artists including the Pro Arte String Quartet, soprano Mimmi Fulmer, vocalist Jackie Allen, synthesist/composer Joan Wildman, guitarists Scott Fields, Rolf Sturm, Dave Baney, Jeff Parker, and Jack Grassel, trumpeters Bob Levy and David Young, and pianists Jane Reynolds, and Marilyn Crispell. He has recorded for Blue Note (EMI), Centaur, A440, Innova, Red Mark, Music and Arts, CRI, Big Chicago, and Cadence labels among others. Recent projects include producing the award-winning BluRay and CD A Romantic Evening with Jackie Allen: Live at the Rococo. A 30-minute version of the concert has been picked up by PBS and shown in over 40 markets nationally. Two albums created during the pandemic have also been recently released in 2021: The Nebraska Project, a collection of original portraits of historic Nebraskan musical artists, and Voyage: Hommage á François Rabbath, a set of Rabbath's unaccompanied pieces that were previously unrecorded. 

Inspired by his work with international artist-teacher François Rabbath, Sturm developed, designed, and produced two state-of-the-art DVD projects, The Art of the Bow (2005) and The Art of the Left Hand (2010). Both DVDs employ the same advanced technology found in films such as Avatar and Lord of the Rings to create a pedagogical method, incorporating 3D biomechanics animations with user-selectable camera angles, live performances, interviews, and lecture demonstrations. They have been described in Strings Magazine as "revolutionary… the most profound teaching tool I've seen." The Strad called the DVDs "fascinating… whether you are a keen amateur or a serious professional, no bass player's education is complete without having experienced Rabbath's demonstrations." He is currently authoring Rabbath's biography, 75 Years on 4 Strings: The Life and Music of François Rabbath, slated for publication in December 2021.

Hans Sturm is currently President of the International Society of Bassists and hosted the organizations first ever virtual convention. He has served on the organization's board of directors for over twenty years and served for six years as New Music Editor for the ISB's journal 'Bass World'. He taught on the summer chamber music and jazz faculty of the National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University for ten years. His major teachers have included jazz virtuoso Richard Davis, soloist Jeff Bradetich, Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Bass Emeritus Anthony Bianco, Philadelphia Orchestra bassist Ferdinand Maresh, and international soloist and pedagogue François Rabbath.