Joseph H. Conyers
Joseph H. Conyers was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010. He joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) where he served as principal bass, and Santa Fe Opera (NM). In 2015, Conyers was named as the next music director of the Philadelphia All-City Orchestra.
Described by the Grand Rapids Press as “a lyrical musician who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique,” Conyers has performed with numerous orchestras as soloist including the Alabama, Flagstaff, & Richmond Symphonies, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Sphinx Symphony having won second prize at the 2004 Sphinx Competition in Detroit, MI. In 2008, John B Hedges, wrote Conyers a bass concerto, “Prayers of Rain and Wind,” commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony. 2015 performances of the work include the Savannah Philharmonic and Jackson (TN) Symphonies.
As a chamber musician, Conyers was recently named an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Other chamber music festivals and collaborations have included the Ilumina Festival (Brazil), Savannah Music Festival (GA), Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival (VA), Kingston Chamber Music Festival (RI), Lexington Chamber Music Festival (KY), with artists that include James Ehnes, Daniel Hope, and members of the Emerson String Quartet.
A recipient of many awards and honors including the 2015 Inaugural Young Alumni Award from his alma mater, The Curtis Institute of Music, Conyers graduated with his bachelors degree studying with both Harold Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and double bass soloist Edgar Meyer. Other mentors have included David Warshauer, principal bassist of the former Savannah Symphony, Daniel Swaim, and Albert Laszlo. In 1999 he was one of the first guests on NPR’s “From the Top” with host Christopher O’Riley in one of its pilot shows. In 2007 Conyers was named one of “30 Leaders 30 and Under” by Ebony Magazine.
Sometimes juggling a studio of over a dozen students, Conyers is committed to education and community engagement through music. He has served as adjunct faculty at Calvin College (MI), Clark Atlanta University (GA) and is currently at Temple University (PA). Conyers has taught at numerous summer music festivals including the New York State Summer School for the Arts and the Philadelphia International Music Festival. In addition, Conyers has given masterclasses across the country including the New England Conservatory, Yale University, and the National Repertory Orchestra.
For much of 2010, Conyers was featured in a television commercial as a part of a Mutual of Omaha advertisement campaign. Conyers’ “aha moment” was about his inspiration founding the nonprofit Project 440 (project440.org). Project 440 has reached thousands of youths – exposing children and adults to classical music throughout the country. In 2010 Project 440 broadened its mission and began teaching young musicians how to become active, relevant, and integral pillars within their communities. The Project 440 curriculum includes college and career preparedness, leadership building, entrepreneurship, and ultimately, service in one’s community through music. Partners have include The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Curtis Institute of Music, the New York State Summer School of the Arts, and The Settlement Music School.
In 2015, a partnership between Project 440 and the School District of Philadelphia was announced in the management of the city’s famed All-City program. The program, consisting of about 450 of the best vocalists and instrumental students of the school district, will be infused with Project 440’s curriculum. Additionally, beginning with the 2015-2016 Season, Conyers will take the podium as the new music director of the All-City Orchestra.
Conyers is a musician representative to the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also serves on the board of directors of The American String Teachers Association as artist representative, the Board of Overseers for the Curtis Institute of Music, and the National Advisory Board for the Atlanta Music Project (GA).
Conyers performs on the "Zimmerman/Gladstone" 1802 Vincenzo Panormo Double Bass which he has affectionately named “Norma.”
Fun Facts: Sometimes described as a fitness fanatic, Conyers is also an avid natural bodybuilder and has competed on the regional level in and around Philadelphia. He took first prize in the “Male Model” (Men’s Physique) division of the 2012 Mr. And Ms. Natural Philly Competition and most recently placed 3rd as a heavyweight at the same competition in the bodybuilding division in 2014. Additionally, Conyers was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Sexy Singles in the 2014 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News / Inquirer annual’s Sexy Singles feature.
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