The South African-born virtuoso double bassist Leon Bosch is one of today’s most versatile and imaginative artists. His wide-ranging interests have taken him in many directions, all of which have fed into a unique career and helped to establish his international reputation
as an outstanding musician. He was until recently principal double bass of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and is sought after as a chamber musician, recitalist, concerto soloist, teacher and programmer. In addition he has built up a varied portfolio of commissions and world premieres and is developing a recording catalogue of an unusually diverse repertoire.
Born in Cape Town, though now a British citizen, he graduated from the University of Cape Town before continuing his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, gaining distinction in the Professional Performance Diploma. The recipient of many prizes, he quickly found his vocation. Since 1984, when he made his London solo debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra, he has appeared as a concerto soloist with many distinguished musicians, including Pinchas Zukerman, Sir Charles Groves and Nicholas Kraemer, and as a guest principal and performer with leading orchestras and ensembles.
As an award-winning recitalist he has been invited to play at festivals and music clubs throughout the UK and in Germany, Bulgaria, Ireland and South Africa. Collaborations are a central part of Leon Bosch’s work and highlights of his chamber music partnerships have included engagements with the Lindsay, Belcea and Brodsky String Quartets, I Musicanti, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble and the Moscow Virtuosi as well as fruitful associations with such pianists as Maria João Pires, Mikhail Rudy, Vladimir Ovchinikov, Peter Donohoe, Martin Roscoe and, most recently on CD, Sung-Suk Kang.
His innovative approach to music-making and his commitment to the double bass – his enthusiasm for his instrument communicated fluently both from the platform and through teaching, examining and adjudicating – have done much to raise the profile of the instrument. His formidable technique and keen musicianship, combined with his artistic vision, have enabled him to carve a remarkable niche in the musical world.
On the borders of, and beyond, the classical arena Leon Bosch has contributed to recording tracks of such pop artists as Madonna, Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson and Björk while his constantly expanding horizons have led him to explore challenging and little-known music for double bass both in live performance and on disc. He has been responsible for a number of important first performances including Pueblo, a commission from John McCabe, several works by Allan Stephenson and music David Ellis, Malcolm Lipkin, Roxanna Panufnik, Dmitri Smirnov and by the South African composers Paul Hanmer and Hendrik Hofmeyr.
Complementing his contribution to a clutch of chamber music recordings is a solo discography embracing virtuoso repertoire, albums of British, Russian and Hungarian repertoire and, on forthcoming releases, 20th Century sonatas, and works by the brilliant Italian bassist Domenico Dragonetti.
As well as his deep immersion in all aspects of musical life in the UK, Leon Bosch is a graduate of the University of Salford in Intelligence and International Relations. He lives on the outskirts of London with his wife and two sons.