Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Victorian College of the Arts, Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam
Kees Boersma has held the position of Principal Double Bass with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 1990. He has performed with Australian World Orchestra since its formation in 2011.
In recognition of his solo talents, the SSO has commissioned new works from leading Australian composers featuring Kees as soloist. His 2013 performance of Mary Finsterer’s “Lake Ice Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra was a finalist in the prestigious APRA Awards for ‘Best Performance of a New Australian Work’. He has been similarly recognized with the commission and performances of the Concerto for Double bass and Orchestra ‘Young Tree Green’ by Colin Bright.
In 2012, Kees was invited to be the founding Artistic Director of the SSO ‘Vanguard’ – curating a concert series in innovative and contemporary venues, seeking to encourage young philanthropists to engage and invest in their orchestra. He is currently the President of the SSO Musician’s Association.
The Australian World Orchestra commissioned Elena Kats Chernin to compose The Witching Hour, the first concerto for eight double basses in orchestral history on the occasion of the AWO’s Fifth Anniversary. Kats-Chernin composed The Witching Hour especially to showcase the extraordinary AWO double bass section comprising Max McBride (formerly ACO, Vienna State Opera, Senior Lecturer ANU School of Music), Kirsty McCahon (formerly Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment), Matthew McDonald (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), Ciro Vigilante (Vienna Chamber Orchestra), Robert Nairn (Professor of Double Bass Juilliard School and Penn State University), Kees Boersma (Principal, Sydney Symphony Orchestra), Tim Dunin (Professor of Double Bass, University of Music, Graz; formerly Vienna Philharmonic) and Alex Henery (Principal, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, formerly Philharmonia London).
A great lover of chamber music, Kees Boersma is a regular artist at Musica Viva’s Chamber Music Festivals and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.
Kees was a founding member of the Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary music group ELISION, premiering, touring and recording the works of Franco Donatoni, Richard Barrett, Liza Lim and Brian Ferneyhough. .
After studies at the Victorian College of the Arts, Kees travelled to his birthplace in the Netherlands to undertake post-graduate studies at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He consequently performed for several seasons with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam under conductors such as Haitink, Dorati, Harnoncourt, Chailly and Giulini.
On his return to Australia, Kees performed as Principal Bass with the State Orchestra of Victoria and the Australian Chamber Orchestra before joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Kees is a Lecturer of Double Bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and enjoys being a regular tutor with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Sydney Youth Orchestra.
He is a regular Guest Principal Bass of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
As a result of his enthusiasm to explore historically informed performance practice, Kees has enjoyed recent opportunities to play with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (London), the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Pinchgut Opera.
In collaboration with his vivacious life partner Kirsty McCahon, his ‘Bass Extravaganza’ concerts as part of the ‘Resonate’ series at the National Art Gallery of NSW explore new ways of presenting music for their beloved basses!
Last updated 2023