Artistic Director

Double Bass, Baroque Bass, Gamba , Composer


Doug Balliett is a prolific musician whose career has spanned composition, performance of classical, new and early music, rap, rock, and conducting. His compositions have been heard around the world, ranging from works for solo instrument in Lincoln Center to full scale hip-hopera in Lucerne. His bass playing has been described as "elegant" (New York Times) and his compositions have been critiqued as "brilliant and witty" (New York Times) and "weird in the best possible way" (I Care if You Listen). Mr. Balliett has written for some of New York's best singers, including Charlotte Mundy, Davone Tines, Ariadne Greif, and grammy-winners Esteli Gomez and Dashon Burton. Recent projects have included the evening-length A Gnostic Passion, written with his twin brother and commissioned by CANTORI NYC, a cycle of songs based on The Brothers Grimm premiered at the Lucerne Festival, and a series of rap cantatas based on Ovid, which have been commissioned from musicians across New York City. Other New York ensembles that have recently performed Mr. Balliett's work include Ensemble ACJW, the Millenials, the Colonials, the Deviant Septet, and DZ4. Upcoming premieres include several new rap cantatas for New Vintage Baroque, the Millenials, and Resonant Bodies, and a work for brass trio to be performed in Carnegie Hall. 

Mr. Balliett holds a B.M. in music from Harvard University and an M.M. in historical performance from the Juilliard School. As a double bassist he has performed as solo or principal bass with Ensemble Modern, the San Antonio Symphony, the Metropolis Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Talea Ensemble, Contemporaneous, Ensemble ACJW, NOVUS, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, Arcadian Players, Pink Martini, and many more. Upcoming double bass engagements include concerts with Steve Coleman at the Newport Jazz Festival and with William Christie in Thire, France. As a member of the band Oracle Hysterical he and his collaborators have presented hip-hoperas, art rock song cycles, rap cantatas, and other genre-bending works all over America and Europe. Doug co-hosts a radio show, The Brothers Balliett, with his twin brother on New York City WQXR's Q2 new music channel.

Natural habitat:

Hometown: Westborough, Massachusetts
Other places: Cambridge, MA and San Antonio, TX


Instruments played:

"I play lots of instruments, some better than others: Bass, Violone, Viola da gamba, Viennese bass, electric bass, guitar, banjo, flugelhorn, harmonica, etc."


What music or pieces turns him on:

"I love anything that has something to say and says it well."


Pre-concert ritual?

"Big glass of water."


Favorite drink post concert?

"Big glass of gin and tonic. Or a nice IPA."