James Oesi – Contrabas “A sensitive and knowlegdeable musician who has much to share and a very natural and confident performer.” Gary Karr, world renown bass soloist “If you have a man like James Oesi, then you know it’s there, it sounds good, and the bass is a solo instrument.” Hans Haffmans, host of Dutch NPO Radio 4 “Here was a young musician of uncommon intelligence and insight, clearly destined, given the right encouragement, to contribute to the world of music not only as a player but a creative force.” Geoffrey Simon, acclaimed conductor and record producer Since his arrival in The Netherlands in 2009, double bassist James Oesi has become a well known face in the classical and contemporary music world. As one of the few concentrating on the bass as a solo instrument, he has performed solo programmes (including works by Bach, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, among others) in prominent venues such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Utrecht’s TivoliVredenburg, The Oosterpoort in Groningen, festivals such as Huddersfield Music Festival (UK), November Music, CrossLinx Festival and at festival Wonderfeel (where his concert was later named by Dutch National Public Radio 4 as one of the festival’s highlights). James has appeared on numerous occasions on Dutch National Public Radio stations NPO 4 and NPO Radio 1 where he was also the subject of a radio documentary and has also had numerous appearances on Dutch National Television programmes Podium Witteman and Vrije Geluiden. Classic FM Uk featured James’ video of Luciano Berio’s Psy. James is the founder and artistic leader of the Dutch Double Bass Festival, the first festival of it’s kind in the world, where James brought top international artists (such as John Patitucci and Edicson Ruiz) to the Netherlands and performed with Gary Karr. Alongside his solo activities, James is also an in-demand chamber musician and ensemble player and can be regularly seen as guest member of Asko|Schönberg, Insomnio, Oerknal, Ives Ensemble and Ensemble Modern. James has performed in masterclasses by Leon Bosch (former principal bassist of the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields), Thomas Martin and Klaus Trumpf, and has been coached by Geoffrey Simon (conductor and producer), Gary Karr, Michel Strauss and Anner Bijlsma. In the autumn of 2019 James premiered four new works especially composed for him by four young composers a part of the New Notes initiative. Ne Notes is a collaboration between three of the Netherlands’ most important music festivals; Grachtenfestival, Gaudeamus Music Week, and November Music where James premiered all four works. As a result of this project James was invited to perform a solo concert at the prestigious Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK. In the production “Sharp Thinkers” with Asko|Schönberg in October 2019, along side playing the double bass James was asked to sing in a new arrangement of Y Despuis by Louis Andriessen. James’ performance was called “heartbreaking” by the Eindhovens Dagblad. August 2019 saw James as a guest teacher at the MittenwalInternational Double Bass Masterclass in Germany and in July and August of the same year James toured through South Africa with his duo partner Andrea Vasi performing recitals in 5 different cities. Online culture magazine Artsmart said in a review: “He can be described as a true artist in his evocation of mood.” In July 2019, at the request of South African Jazz Legend Abdullah Ibrahim, James performed a few pieces with Ibrahim’s band, Ekaya at the North Sea Jazz Festival. February 2019, James announces a collaboration with neuroscientist and former Olympic speed skater Beorn Nijenhuis. The two will be researching what the most effective and efficient methods of study are for a professional musician, using James as a case study for this research. June 2018, James joined the Asko|Shönberg ensemble to perform at the renowned National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. In a review from the Business Day: “My favourite part of the show was undoubtedly James Oesi playing Tom Johnson’s Failing: a very difficult piece for solo string bass.” For their recording, ‘Gyorgy Kurtag – Complete Works For Ensemble and Choir’ (ECM), James joined the Asko|Schonberg ensemble led by Reinbert de Leeuw. This recording was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium in November 2017. At the beginning of 2016 James performed the soundtrack (written for him by Wilko Sterke) for the theater piece Waiting For the Barbarians(based on the novel by J.M. Coetzee) produced by Toneelschuur Haarlem, which toured the Netherlands. In the summer of 2015 thanks to a generous grant from the Prins Bernard Cultuur Fonds, James was able to purchase a fine double bass made by Giuseppe Baldantoni in 1872. A grant from the Stichting Eigen Muziekinstrument made possible the purchase of a fine bow by Jürgen Krussig in 2016. James uses gut-core strings custom made by Gerold Genssler. In May 2012 James graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, receiving a mark of 10 (out of 10) with distinction. Later on James was awarded the Fock Medaille for best solo exam of the year. James’s study was a first in that he was the first double bass player to graduate from the Masters in Solo performance. For his Masters’ study James was awarded the prestigious Huygens Scholarship from the Netherlands and a grant from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust in England. In 2009 an audition for the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation (now Arts Global Artistic Foundation) in Montreux led to James relocation to the Netherlands and allowed James to spend a summer with world-famous solo bassist, Gary Karr where James had the opportunity to perform with Gary Karr in concert. In 2005, aged sixteen, James travelled from Johannesburg to Moscow to pursue studies at the acclaimed Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire under Lev Rakov. James was at the time the youngest student at the conservatoire and the only foreign double bassist. This study was made possible by the support of the Apollo Music Trust, and later also the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the National Arts Council of South Africa. In 2005 and 2006 James was selected as one of two bassists, worldwide to attend the Perlman Music Program in New York. The programme, led by violinist Itzhak Perlman, his wife Toby Perlman and faculty from the Juilliard String faculty, gives a very select group of young musical talent intense training in solo and chamber playing. James begun playing the double bass at the age of 12 in 2001 having previously played the piano and the violin.