Contrabass Conversations double bass life

564: Rex Surany

Feb. 11, 2019

Rex Surany is the new Principal bass of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He is also working as an assistant teacher in cooperation with Harold Robinson, the Principal Bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Juilliard School.


His musical education began with piano lessons when he was 7 years old. After two years of piano, he switched exclusively to double bass with Robert Peterson of Trenton, New Jersey. In 2002, upon completing the Vance repertoire with Peterson, Rex then started to study Rabbath Method with Nicholas Walker, double bass Professor at Ithaca college, and joined the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra under maestro Joseph Primavera's direction.


Rex's first year of college, in 2006, was spent at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. There he studied with David Moore and Paul Ellison. After a year, he was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where, in addition to studying double bass, he found and pursued interests in composing, transcribing, and arranging that continue today.


A few weeks after graduating from Curtis, in May 2012, Rex became a temporary member of the New York Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert as Music Director. While Rex was working at “The Phil”, he spent a lot of his relief and vacation time traveling to Berlin to study the Berlin Philharmonic tradition and German bow technique with Matthew McDonald and Janne Saksala; first principal basses. After two years of working in New York, studying in Berlin, and auditioning in North America, Europe, and even Scandanavia, Rex finally won his first audition for a section position at the Metropolitan Opera in 2014. And only one year later, he won the principal position.


Rex has won numerous accolades in both solo and orchestral bass realms. In June 2009, he was awarded 2nd prize of the ISB (International Society of Bassists) Orchestral Competition. The following summer, he was and the 3rd prize-winner of the 2010 Bradetich Foundation International Solo Competition. In 2011, Rex was the 2nd prize-winner at the ISB Solo competition. Rex has performed with many orchestras including: the Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Haddonfield “Symphony in C”, the Boston Symphony, the American Ballet Theatre, the New York Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan opera. He has given master classes and recitals at Ithaca College, Brigham Young University, and Fort Lewis College.


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