Joseph H. Conyers

was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010 and has been acting associate principal bass since 2017. Conyers joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) where he served as principal bass, and Santa Fe Opera (NM).

Described by the Grand Rapids Press as “a lyrical musician who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique,” Conyers has performed with numerous orchestras as soloist including the Alabama, Flagstaff, & Richmond Symphonies, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Sphinx Symphony having won second prize at the 2004 Sphinx Competition in Detroit, MI. In 2008, John B Hedges wrote Conyers a bass concerto, “Prayers of Rain and Wind,” commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony.

I didn’t always know I would be a musician, but once music found me I knew there was no turning back…

I grew up in the beautiful little town of Savannah, Georgia. I first encountered music through the church in the form of Gospel. I would play hymns on the piano and sing in the choir. One day while listening to the radio, my mother discovered classical music; She knew instantly that this was something she wanted her children to grow up with so she introduced it to me and my siblings. When I entered junior high and picked up the bass I was once again overcome with an insatiable appetite that demanded I play the instrument to the best of my capabilities. Outside of my family and mentor circle, I faced lots of opposition as many people in my hometown did not see how music could provide me with a life sustaining career. I personally did not know where my skills were compared to the rest of the world, but my family and teachers encouraged me to apply to the Curtis Institute of Music my senior year of high school, and the rest is history!

I was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010 and have been acting associate principal bass since 2017. I joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) where I served as principal bass, and Santa Fe Opera (NM).

In addition I am an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Other chamber music festivals and collaborations have included the Ilumina Festival (Brazil), Savannah Music Festival (GA), Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival (VA), Kingston Chamber Music Festival (RI), Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective (UK), Lexington Chamber Music Festival (KY), and the Festival Internacional de Música de Esmeraldas (Ecuador)with artists that include James Ehnes, Daniel Hope, and members of the Emerson String Quartet.

Although I had attained an amazing career as a professional musician, I believe there is more to life than just being a great musician. Throughout my life, I have always felt I was put on this Earth to make the world a better place. If nothing else, the world has shown me that the earlier we make an impact in someone’s life, the greater the influence we can have in creating positive change in a person’s life.

In 2010 I founded the non profit music based program, Project 440. With this project I aim to provide young musicians with the tools to help them use their passion for music to fuel their purpose in life. Even though I had faced many hurdles throughout the program’s development, my student’s words of acknowledgment let me know that all my efforts are making a difference in the world.

Since 2015 I have acted as the director of the Philadelphia School District’s All City programs, which works with the top performing youth of Philadelphia.

I believe music is a truly wonderful and amazing phenomena that needs to be transmitted throughout the generations to as many people as possible. It has the power to connect people in such unique ways that language cannot; therefore I make a very deliberate effort to transmit the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my lifetime in a variety of mediums.

I am proud to have been named to the faculty of the Juilliard School in January of 2020. I have served as adjunct faculty at Calvin College (MI), Clark Atlanta University (GA) and is currently at Temple University (PA). I was heavily involved in developing the curriculum for the Atlanta Symphony’s Sound Learning program, which integrates music into the school curriculum at local elementary schools. I have also taught at numerous summer music festivals, including the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Academy, the National Repertory Orchestra, Masterworks Festival in Winona Lake (IN), the New York State Summer School of the Arts, and the Philadelphia International Music Festival. I have also collaborated with Time for Three bassist (and Curtis classmate) Ranaan Meyer for the development of Wabass Workshop, an institute for the 21st-century bass player. I have also given masterclasses and lectures across the country including The Colburn School, The Curtis Institute of Music, The New England Conservatory, Yale University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia, and the Peabody Conservatory.

In addition to all this, I am very active on social media and make a great effort to reply to all the messages I get from students from around the world!

Taking on all the roles that I have can be tiring and it is hard work, but I don’t allow myself to dwell too long on how I can make things better, because I would rather go out and make them better! As long as I have the energy to do it — and provide a pathway for somebody else — I’m going to keep doing it.

*In my personal life I have enjoyed a wonderful journey through physical fitness in the forms of weightlifting, bodybuilding, and veganism!

Titles and Awards :

Role Model/Mentor