Dan Styffe

Double Bass Co-Principal

− New repertoire is needed, and developing it has helped me to evolve. Both the composers and I have learned a lot through trial and error, and seeing what works and what doesn´t. I have been mostly focussed on using the double bass as a songlike, melodic instrument, and less on the technical aspect.

Dan Styffe

A shortage of teachers played a significant role in Dan Styffe becoming a double bass player:

− It was actually a bit by chance – I was playing the electric bass when I was due to start music college in Karlstad, but they didn´t have any electric bass teachers, only teachers for the double bass. So, I thought I could try it for a year and then go back … but I had a great teacher, and so it was settled: from then on it was the double bass.

After further studies in Sweden, Norway and the United States he worked from 1982 in the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, and was engaged by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1988. He has also been Principal Double Bass player in The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra for a number of years, and for a long time a member of the chamber ensemble Borealis.

New repertoire helps you to evolve

Dan has long experience as a soloist and has released several recordings, both independently and as a soloist with Tromsø Chamber Orchestra. He has commissioned lot of the music on his solo albums himself, and has been part of developing the works in collaboration with different composers.

− New repertoire is needed, and developing it has helped me to evolve. Both the composers and I have learned a lot through trial and error, and seeing what works and what doesn´t. I have been mostly focussed on using the double bass as a songlike, melodic instrument, and less on the technical aspect.

Dan mentions Rolf Martinsson´s Double Bass Concerto, of which he performed the world premiere and recorded for CD with the Oslo Philharmonic and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste in 2011, as an especially good example of new music for the instrument.

As an orchestra musician in the Oslo Philharmonic, the double bass player is particularly pleased to see the great late Romantic symphonies on the programme:

− The greatest composers wrote a lot of good orchestral parts for the double bass: Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler − that kind of repertoire keeps me rooted in the orchestra.