Joel Quarrington | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Joel Quarrington

Joel (Andrew) Quarrington. Bassist, b Toronto 15 Jan 1955; Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1975.

Quarrington, Joel

Joel (Andrew) Quarrington. Bassist, b Toronto 15 Jan 1955; Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1975. A pupil of Peter Madgett and Thomas Monohan in Toronto and Francesco Petracchi in Rome, he won first prize in the 1976 CBC Talent Festival and second prize in the 1978 Geneva International Competition for Musical Performers. He was a member 1974-7 of the Chamber Players of Toronto, and toured for JMC (YMC) in 1979. He was principal bass 1979-91 of the Hamilton Philharmonic, and in 1984 was a co-founder of the Amadeus Ensemble. He taught at the Courtenay Youth Music Centre in 1985 and 1988 and has performed at the Elora Festival, Festival of the Sound, Music at Sharon, and the Scotia Festival. He has been a soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and other Canadian orchestras, and has performed with the Allegri, Cleveland, Colorado, Orford, Leipzig, St. Lawrence, Tokyo, and Vermeer string quartets, as well as with the Zukerman Chamber Players. In 1991 he succeeded Monohan as principal bass of the Toronto Symphony, and in 2006 was appointed principal bass of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Quarrington has premiered many new works, some either written for or commissioned by him. These include Dave Young's Suite for Joel (1985), Milton Barnes'Papageno Variations (1988), Rodney Sharman's Orpheus' Garden (1987), John Burge's Interplay, Don Thompson's Quartet '89 (1990), and John Harbison's Concerto for Bass Viol (2006), with the Toronto Symphony.

Quarrington's album, Joel Quarrington: Garden Scene (2009, Analekta AN 29931) won the 2010 Juno Award for classical album of the year (solo or chamber ensemble).

Joel Quarrington's brothers Tony (b Saskatoon 17 May 1948) and Paul (b Toronto 22 Jun 1953, d Toronto 21 Jan 2010) have had careers in pop music in Toronto, Tony as a guitarist and Paul as a guitarist and bass guitarist. They recorded for Posterity in the late 1970s: Tony under his own name (Top 10 Written All Over It, PTR-13007), Paul with Martin Worthy (Quarrington-Worthy, PTR-13012), and both with Joe Hall and the Continental Drift. Tony has also played jazz, and has backed James Gordon, Scott Merritt, Brent Titcomb, and others in the contemporary folk field. Paul subsequently pursued a literary career; his novel about a rock musician, Whale Music (Toronto 1989), won the Governor General's award for fiction in 1990.


Duos for Cello and Bass: Rossini - Boccherini - Offenbach - Massenet - Keÿper - Baudiot. Bloemendal violoncello. 1982. Crystal S-135

Keane Elegy. 1980. Music Gallery Editions MGE-29

Bottesini: Music for Double Bass and Piano, vol 1. Andrew Burashko, piano. 1997. Naxos 8.554002

Virtuoso Reality. 1999. CBC Records MVCD 1108

Bottesini: Music for Double Bass and Piano, vol 2. Andrew Burashko, piano. 2008. Naxos 8.557042