Robert Nairn teaches double bass, excerpt classes, bass ensembles, coaches chamber music, and directs the University's Baroque Ensemble. A native of Australia, he received his bachelor’s degree from the Canberra School of Music and a post-graduate diploma from the Berlin Musikhochschule, courtesy of a two-year DAAD German Government Scholarship. He has lived and worked in Germany, England, Australia, and the United States.
His teachers have included Klaus Stoll, Tom Martin, and Max McBride. He has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the English, Scottish and Australian chamber orchestras, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenberg Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Halle Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne symphony orchestras.
A specialist in historical performance, Nairn has served as principal bassist with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society since 2003, and principal of the Boston Early Music Festival. He has performed with Concerto Caledonia, the Aulos Ensemble, Rebel, the Washington Bach Consort, the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also performed regularly for eight years in London as a member of Florilegium.
Nairn also serves on the historical performance faculty at the Juilliard School and is a member of Juilliard Baroque. In 2009, he received the International Society of Bassist’s (ISB) “Special Recognition Award for Historically Informed Performance.” His recording of Mozart’s concert aria “Per Questra Bell Mano” with the Handel and Haydn Society and bass Eric Owens has garnered substantial critical acclaim; Gramophone magazine called it “all one could wish for” and Classic FM magazine selected it as its “Record of the Month.”
He has appeared at numerous international festivals, including events in Salzburg, Baden-Baden, Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne, Schleswig-Holstein, and the London ‘Proms’ under such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Mazur, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Maris Jansons, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Charles Mackeras, Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Kent Nagano, and Franz Brüggen. He has also performed in the world’s most famous concert venues: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw, La Scala, Le Châtelet, Leningrad, Berlin, Teatro Colôn, Konzerthaus, Musikverein (Vienna), and the Sydney Opera House.
Nairn has commissioned and premiered more than forty newly commissioned works for solo double bass and chamber groups, and he has worked extensively with the London Sinfonietta, Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin, Australysis, the Music Theatre of Wales, and the Sydney Alpha Ensemble. He premiered a new concerto by Barry Conyngham in 2009, and other current commissions include works by Elena Kats Chernin, Michael Berkeley, and Peter Askim. In 2008, he was awarded a Howard Foundation Fellowship to continue commissioning new works by Australian composers. Two CD’s featuring of works by Australian composers will be released in 2016.
As a soloist he has performed concerti with the Gruppe Neue Musik (Berlin), the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Darwin and Adelaide symphony orchestras (including Bottesini's "Passiona Amoroso" with Gary Karr). In addition, he has given solo recitals in Europe, Scandinavia, China, United States, and Australia.
He served as president of the International Society of Bassists in 2009-10 and hosted the ISB convention at Penn State in 2009, an event that brought together more than 1,300 musicians from 37 countries for six days.
Requiem in D minor, K626
Ave verum corpus, K618
Per questa bella mano, concert aria, K 612
Handel and Haydn Society, Harry Christophers
Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Phyllis Pancella (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Kennedy (tenor) & Eric Owens (bass-baritone), & Robert Nairn (double bass obbligato)
A SUO AMICO - Music from the Repertoire of Domenico Dragonetti and Robert Lindley
Querelle des Bouffons: Guy Fishman, cello; Robert Nairn, bass; Sarah Freiberg, cello; Daniel Stepner, violin
[includes DVD] [Hybrid SACD] [HYBRID SACD]
Robert Nairn, Jennifer Morsches, Florilegium Musicum Ensemble, Eligio Quinteiro etc.
Includes works by Henry Villca Suntra and Domenico Zipoli.
Label: Channel Classics
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Halle Orchestra (Robert Nairn), conducted by Kent Nagano.
Urban Malmberg, John Aler, Dawn Upshaw, Jose Van Dam etc.