Paul Ellison

Distinguished Visiting Artist

Division: Classical Performance and Composition
Program: Strings

Instrument: Bass


Paul Ellison is currently at the zenith of a long, distinguished career as a double bassist. While especially renowned as a pedagogue, he served for well over two decades as principal double bassist with the Houston Symphony, while also serving in a similar chair with the Houston Grand Opera. Ellison also held the first chair bass position for some years with the Santa Fe Opera. He is currently co-principal bassist with the Grand Teton Music Festival.

Still, it is as a widely sought after teacher that Ellison has had his greatest impact on music. Among his many leading educational assignments, are his current position as the Lynette S. Autrey professor of double bass and chair of strings as Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He previously served for seven years as the chair of strings at the University of Southern California, and thus his current status, as a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the USC Thornton School of Music represents a form of “homecoming.” Ellison also serves as guest tutor at the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal College of Music, and Bass Club, England.

Ellison’s own education includes a B.M.E. from Eastern New Mexico University and master’s degree from Northwestern University. He is the first person to receive both the diploma and teaching certificate from the Institut International Rabbath, Paris. He combines performing and teaching at the Sarasota Music Festival and the Festival Domaine Forget, Québec. His students hold prominent musical positions all over the globe, as befits the former president of the International Society of Bassists.