Essex Symphony Orchestra Reg. Charity No. 1000732

Site last updated on 15 May 2020

Spotlight on …

Tom Ellwood - Principal Double Bass, ESO

I joined the Essex Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and for the last 10 years have served on the committee as treasurer.  On joining, I was immediately tricked into leading the bass section, a responsibility which I have so far failed to shake off!

Growing up in Suffolk, I learnt the piano before taking up the violin at the age of 8, but when I was 12 my teacher felt I could do with a change and initially suggested the viola.  I showed little enthusiasm for this idea, and my string playing career was put back on track only when he revealed that he could lay his hands on a double bass.  In the meantime I had also begun playing the trumpet, which I continued into my university years, but I have always found there is more demand for someone to play the bass.  In addition to instrumental playing, I spent 5 years as a chorister in St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir.

Given my choice of instrument, I have quite often been asked whether I play jazz, but I have chosen to concentrate on the many possibilities offered by orchestral music.  It’s hard to pick a favourite composer but, in common with most other bass players I know, I do enjoy playing the music of Johannes Brahms.  I also have a fondness for the choral music of Herbert Howells.  As well as ESO I play regularly with Essex Chamber Orchestra and the Colne Philharmonic Orchestra.