Double Bassist Andrew Sommer is a native of the Atlanta area and the newly appointed principal bass player for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. He has been a substitute for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, including on their 2014 tour to Carnegie Hall, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Sommer received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Albert Laszlo. During his time in New York, he was actively involved in the freelance scene, and performed frequently in the tri-state area. Mr. Sommer has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School, performing with the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He also spent three summers as a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Verbier, Switzerland. In the summers of 2018 and 2019, he was a member of the chamber orchestra, Taiwan Connection. With this group, Mr. Sommer toured and performed in all the major cities in Taiwan, as well as recorded an album including Brahms Symphony no. 2.
Mr. Sommer grew up in a musical family. His mom, Phyllis, is a singer and choral teacher, and his sister, Grace, is a cellist. His father was the great bassist and teacher Douglas Sommer, who was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. Andrew credits his father, who sadly passed away in 2014, as his bass hero.
In addition to his orchestral work, Mr. Sommer is equally at home playing jazz and other styles of music. He performed at the 2013 Grammys with the Grammy Jazz Combo alongside Latino superstar Juanes. Mr. Sommer’s jazz teachers and mentors include Joseph Patrick Moore, Sam Skelton, Kevin Bales, and John Patitucci. Other bass mentors include Harold Robinson, Leigh Mesh, Lawrence Wolfe, and the entire Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bass section.
Mr. Sommer started playing cello at age seven, studying with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra cellist Joel Dallow, who he still considers a mentor. In middle school, Andrew started to play electric bass and then the double bass, all under the guidance of his father.
Mr. Sommer plays on his father’s bass, an Enrico Bajoni made in Italy circa 1875.