Travis Harrison — Double Bass

Specializes In:

Double bass (upright bass)


Travis Harrison, double bass faculty at the MCMA recently sat down with us to talk about his musical journey.  Travis first picked up the double bass when he was in grade six. His school had a strings program and since he was the tallest kid, the teacher recommended the double bass. He didn’t really take it seriously until a few years later when he went to a friend’s dance recital. The Toronto Symphony was playing and when he heard the double bass concerto, he realized what he could do with this instrument. That is when he decided to find a teacher and keep learning to play this instrument.

Travis used to live in Toronto but came here to Winnipeg because he got a job with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as a classical bassist. The Winnipeg symphony is his first professional job and he is incredibly happy to be making a living out doing what he loves.

Even though he is very busy with the WSO, he still finds the time to teach here at the MCMA. Travis really loves teaching; “The fun thing about teaching is that you learn when you teach”. He also likes the atmosphere here; he thinks we are a great community and that the people are very warm and friendly.

Travis enjoys playing solo music but his true love is chamber music, “It opens up a level of communication that people can’t express with words”. And when we asked him if he has some advice for beginners who don’t know how to start he replied, “Take a chance”.

We are looking forward to another year with Travis at the MCMA and his next season with the WSO.




Born in Toronto Canada, Travis Harrison is a graduate of Montreal’s McGill University. His post-graduate work was with the National Arts Centre’s Institute for Orchestral Studies while he concurrently completed a performance masters degree at the University of Ottawa in 2012 under the guidance of Joel Quarrington. Travis is happy in his recent employment with the bass section of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, having joined in Fall of 2013. Travis’ most formative musical experiences include a European tour to the Proms at Royal Albert Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw with the Aldeburgh World Orchestra for the London 2012 Olympic Festival, as well as several performances with the Toronto Symphony and Montreal Symphony Orchestras. He also makes regular appearances as an extra musician with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, an institution to which he owes many of his most memorable artistic experiences. He has participated in the summer festival programs of Banff, Crested Butte (Colorado), Mt. Orford and Domaine Forget (Quebec), Schloss Hundisburg and Ochsenhausen (Germany), and has performed in masterclasses for Joel Quarrington (London Symphony Orchestra) and Matthew MacDonald (Berlin Philharmonic). Recently, Travis’artistic endeavours have been generously supported by the Manitoba Arts Council, for which he is very grateful.

Travis is active as a faculty member of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts. Most recently he has jointly published a first-of-it’s-kind eBook with Joel Quarrington, called the Canadian School of Double Bass. It is an in-depth study of Maestro Quarrington’s modernized approach to playing the double bass, complete with video and audio examples, making it a truly modern technique book.

As a recording artist, Travis has played on numerous classical recordings, most recently the National Arts Centre’s Life Reflected (2016), which includes works by Zosha Di Castri, Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizee, and John Estacio; Christos Hatzis’ Going Home Star: Truth and Reconciliation (2015); The Aldeburgh World Orchestra’s At the Speed of Stillness (2014); and Orchestre de la Francophonie’s Symphonie Fantastique (2012). Travis also participated in Eleanor McCain’s True North: The Canadian Songbook (2017); and was featured playing the double bass on Weezer’s 2010 album Hurley. Travis is the proud owner of a very fine old English bass, Kennedy School circa 1850, and bows made by Canadian maker Bernard Walke. He also has a passion for contemporary classical music, particularly the music of such composers as Christopher Rouse, Valentin Silvestrov, and Canadian-Icelandic composer Fjola Evans.

While not playing music, the art of sound recording and media creation take up a lot of Travis’ time. He is currently very excited to be working on a multimedia recording with his old mentor, Joel Quarrington, as well as several personal recording projects.


B.Mus Perfomance, McGill University

M.Mus Performance, University of Ottawa

Apprentice, National Arts Centre Orchestra Institute for Orchestral Studies


Joel Quarrington, Brian Robinson, Paul Rogers

Career Highlights

European tour for the 2012 Olympic games including concerts at the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and The Proms at Royal Albert Hall (London, UK).

Recital performances in a Montreal homeless shelter for Chamber Music Without Borders.

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