Sandor Ostlund


Instrument: Bass

Originally from: Outside of Madison, WI

Now reside in: McGregor, TX

Birthday: October 31

How did you get started? I started playing viola in fourth grade, but quit because it wasn’t as cool as the saxophone I switched to a couple of years later.

In high school I realized that playing in band wasn’t just producing painful, screeching sounds by biting your reed (I’m sorry Mr. Georgeson) and playing with the jazz ensemble. We were also expected to play a clamorous Louis Louis while marching in sync on a field in an orange and black polyester costume. You’ve got to be kidding.

Fortunately, at this point the bass revealed itself. We had an artist in residence program at our school that included a professional bassist. As soon as I saw him play, I knew that the bass was the instrument I’d been looking for, and I immediately and completely immersed myself in it.

But really my first instrument was my mother’s guitar which she let me bang around on as a child. I now have this same instrument in my possession and love to see my kids carry on the tradition by abusing it like I did.

How long have you performed with ROCO? Since the end of the 2007/08 season.

What do you do when you’re not playing with ROCO? Associate Professor of Double Bass at Baylor University.

What are you listening to? Recently included: Obscure bass concertos (in search of the one to play with ROCO in October, 2010. What I’m looking for hasn’t been written yet, so I’m very excited to have commissioned composer Scott McAllister to create something amazing, the likes of which has never been heard before. Stay tuned, this is going to be a big deal.), Eric Dolphy, Andrew Manze, Bylsma, David Crowder, Michel Camilo, Andrew Bird, Ewe drumming ensembles, Richard Davis, Mozart 39, This American Life. I also hear Message in a Bottle (a perfect pop song, imho) nearly every day with the twins singing their hearts out in the back seat on the way to school.

Personal info: I’m blessed with an extraordinary wife (Vanessa) and four children. Twin 7-year old boys (Aidan and Dylan), a two-year old boy (Ashton), and a new beautiful baby girl (Madelyn Rose).

Question you’re asked most often: Why?

Interests outside music: Church music, coffee, reading.


Education: BM, University of Wisonsin-Madison; MM and DMA, Rice University.

Bio: Sandor Ostlund is Associate Professor of Double Bass at Baylor University. He is an active and versatile performer as a soloist, and as a chamber, early music, orchestral musician.

As a soloist, Dr. Ostlund has performed in recitals throughout the United States. He has appeared in featured performances at International Society of Bassists Conventions, as concert soloist with orchestras, in live radio broadcasts, and has premiered several works for solo double bass.

Ensembles that Dr. Ostlund has played with include the Detroit Symphony, the Washington Bach Consort, the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Context, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, the San Antonio Symphony, the National Philharmonic, Le Synfonietta de Paris, the Madison Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony. Currently, he is Principal Double Bassist of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and the Waco Symphony Orchestra.

He has been invited to teach and perform at clinics and universities including Penn State University, Northwestern University, SUNY-Stony Brook, James Madison University, Golden Gate Bass Camp, Colorado Suzuki Institute, American Festival for the Arts, Shenandoah Conservatory Performing Arts Festival, the Texas Double Bass Symposium, the Midwest Double Bass Symposium, and the annual Richard Davis Double Bass Conference.

Dr. Ostlund received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Master’s degree and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University, where he is the first and only double bassist to receive a DMA from esteemed performer and pedagogue Paul Ellison. His other teachers include Richard Davis, David Walter, and François Rabbath. Before arriving at Baylor University, Dr. Ostlund held faculty appointments at West Texas A&M University and Shenandoah Conservatory.