"These pieces are stunning - each one is a masterpiece and I am so grateful for them!" [Susan Hagen, Boston Pops Orchestra/Berklee College of Music]
"I am so grateful to David Heyes for writing “A Small Suite” for my students. Over the years I have had a number of students with various left hand injuries or weaknesses. After focusing on lots of bow work, these students are desperate to have pieces they can play while gradually increasing their left hand strength. Quite frankly, I was at a loss trying to find music that would engage them and help them grow, both as bassists and as musicians.
This is why in March of 2021, I asked David to write some music with lots of harmonics and a small amount of “stopped” or “pressed down” notes. With this suite students have the ability to work on pieces that don’t tax their left hand too much; they can actually build left hand strength and have fun!
This suite is even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and my students love it! These pieces would also be engaging and fun for anyone who is still getting comfortable with our beautiful beastly instrument!" [Susan Hagen / Principal Bass, Boston Pops Orchestra / Assistant Professor of Double Bass, Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA]
David Heyes writes: "This was a fascinating commission to accept and something which offered many different challenges. How to make each piece interesting, when only playing a limited number of stopped notes in the lower positions; how to link them to the octave harmonics alongside artificial harmonics in 3rd and 4th positions; and how to make the harmonics interesting when there were so few to choose from. There was the added difficulty of balancing the musical and technical issues with producing pieces which were interesting to play and would hopefully be of use as concert pieces.
I hope, as a whole, the suite fulfilled the brief and I have to admit that I loved writing each piece. The final one was composed on Good Friday (2 April 2021) and was inspired by a TV programme about the Holy Land. The titles are about light or times of the day and 'Sunset' seemed a perfect place to end."
David Heyes studied double bass with Laurence Gray and Bronwen Naish and later at the Royal College of Music in London. He completed his post-graduate studies in Prague with František Pošta (Principal Double Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He has given recitals and masterclasses in 20 countries over the past few years and has been a juror at a number of international competitions, three times as chairman.
David has been Specialist Double Bass Tutor at Wells Cathedral School for 24 years and received a prestigious award from the David Walter Charitable Trust of New York for his pioneering activities as a soloist, teacher, publisher and commissioner of new music for double bass. He works with composers throughout the world and is particularly interested to expand the double bass repertoire, by commissioning new works and by rediscovering forgotten ones. Over the past 40 years he has commissioned more than 700 works, from beginner to virtuoso, and from one to twenty basses.
David has transcribed more than 200 works for double bass, many published by Recital Music, and in recent year has also composed a number of original works for double bass which have been performed in Britain, America and Czech Republic. Since 2014 David has had music performed in 27 countries (UK, USA, Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Malta, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Japan, France, Slovakia, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Austria, Spain, Guatemala, Patagonia, Albania, Russia and Belgium). In November 2016 two of his songs were recorded by Sarah Poole (soprano) and Derek Harris (piano) for Prima Facie Records, who also recorded an entire CD of works by David in January 2017.