ISB History

ISB Blasts from the Past

In honor of the ISB's 50th year anniversary, we are sending out monthly installments of throwback photos from each decade of the ISB. All leading to this year's Convention in Ithaca, June 5-10, 2017!

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  • The International Institute for String Bass (IISB), the first incarnation of the ISB, is founded by Gary Karr, 1967.
  • Publishes sixteen issues of Bass Sound Post and two issues of Probas.
  • Holds three international conferences in Madison, Wisconsin.


  • The IISB is inactive for two years, then relaunched as the International Society of Bassists (ISB) by Barry Green, executive director, and Lucas Drew, editor.
  • Publishes 29 issues of the ISB newsletter.
  • Sponsors a composition competition in 1977.
  • Holds the ISB Summer Bass School at the University of Cincinnati from 1977-1981.
  • Holds the Zimmermann/Mingus Competition with classical and jazz divisions in Cincinnati in November, 1981.
  • Supports the 1978 and 1982 Isle of Man International Competitions and Workshops in Great Britain.


  • Jeff Bradetich is appointed executive director and editor of the ISB in July, 1982.
  • Changes format of membership publication from newsletter to magazine.
  • Publishes 17 magazines.
  • Organizes the largest gathering of bassists to date at the 1984 ISB convention at Northwestern University, in Evanston, IN, June, 1984, Jeff Bradetich, chair. More than 200 bassists in attendance from nine countries.
  • Sponsors 1984 International Composition Contest.
  • Holds 1986 ISB convention at the University of Texas at Austin, David Neubert, chair.
  • Holds 1988 ISB convention at the University of California - Los Angeles, which includes an international competition with classical, jazz, and orchestral divisions, Paul Zibits, chair.
  • Hires first full-time employee, Mary Oswald, as general manager in July, 1986.
  • Publishes the first ISB International Portrait Calendar in 1986.
  • Holds 1990 ISB convention at New York University in New York City, organized by Don Boyer, general manager, and Jeff Bradetich, executive director.
  • Endorses the 1991 international convention in Mittenwald, Germany.


  • The ISB moves its offices to Dallas, Texas, in 1991 to be managed by Don Dillon Associates. Madeleine Crouch of DDA is named general manager.
  • Holds 1993 convention at the Interlochen Academy for the Arts, David Neubert, chair.
  • Holds 1995 convention at Indiana University, Lawrence Hurst, chair.
  • Sponsors composition competitions in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. In 2002 reorganizes competition to include grand prizes in solo bass, chamber music and bass with media divisions.
  • Holds 1997 convention at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Paul Ellison, chair.
  • Holds 1999 convention at the University of Iowa, Diana Gannett, chair.
  • Joëlle Morton becomes editor of the ISB's membership magazine, Bass World, in 1999.


  • In 2000, the family of ISB member Hunter Capoccioni donates money to help fund the commission of a new concerto for double bass, in memory of Hunter's father, David Capoccioni. The ISB continues to seek members for a coast-to-coast consortium of orchestras that will premiere a concerto by John Harbison in April, 2006.
  • The ISB launches its website,, in 2000.
  • Holds 2001 convention at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Murray, chair, featuring the farewell recital of ISB founder Gary Karr. The ISB honors him with "The Gary Karr Rose," a yellow hybrid named for the ISB's founder. Convention sets attendance record to date with just over 800 attendees from 27 countries.
  • Andi Beckendorf becomes associate editor of Bass World in 2001.
  • In 2001, the family of legendary jazz bassist Scott LaFaro endows the $2,500 first prize in the ISB's biennial jazz competition. Scott's sister Helene LaFaro Fernandez speaks at the 2001 convention concert honoring "The Bassists of Bill Evans."
  • Launches a new website, The Online Journal of Bass Research,, a refereed electronic journal, Joëlle Morton, editor.
  • Holds 2003 convention at the University of Richmond, Virginia, Paul Pearce and Barre Phillips, co-chairs, setting a new attendance record of nearly 900 attendees from 28 countries. Closing concert honors the late, great Ray Brown with a tribute concert hosted by John Clayton.
  • Holds first-ever ISB Makers Competition at the 2003 convention, with sixteen new instruments and ten bows entered.
  • Gary Karr transfers holdings of the Karr Doublebass Foundation to the ISB, helping the ISB establish a new endowment fund with a goal of insuring the future of the organization and its work.
  • Gary Karr gifts the ISB with his famed double bass, previously owned by Serge Koussevitzky and given to Gary by Koussevitzky's widow, Olga Koussevitzky in 1961.
  • Holds 2005 convention at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Tom Knific, chair, with nearly 1,000 in attendance.
  • Bass World editor Joëlle Morton passes the baton to new editor Andi Beckendorf. The ISB pays tribute to Joëlle in Vol. 29 #2 of the magazine.
  • On April 1, 2006, Joel Quarrington and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra give the world premiere of John Harbison's Concerto for Bass Viol, commissioned by the family and friends of ISB member Hunter Capoccioni and a consortium of orchestras in memory of his father, David Capoccioni. Tim Pitts and the Houston Symphony give the U.S. premiere on May 5, 2006. There will be 13 more performances of the concerto over the next 26-month period.
  • The ISB's website is relaunched with a new, more user-friendly design.
  • Holds 2007 convention at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music, Oklahoma City University, John Schimek and Hans Sturm, co-chairs. Attendance surpasses 1,000.
  • Launches its own publishing arm with ISB Editions in 2008 in order to ensure that selected compositions that were previously commissioned for or winners of ISB competitions, and / or premiered at ISB conventions enter the standard double bass repertoire.
  • Opens a new online store,, to sell members' recordings, CDs, and more.
  • Holds 2009 convention at the Penn State University School of Music, State College, PA, Rob Nairn, chair. Just over 1,300 in attendance.
  • Bass World editor Andi Beckendorf passes the baton to new editor Jeremy Baguyos.
  • Partners with the Music Teachers Association International for the "Year of Collaborative Music."
  • Launches a new Members-Only area of the website featuring the George Vance Online Research Library, over 40 years of searchable PDFs of past newsletters and magazines.
  • Holds the 2011 convention at San Francisco State University, John Kennedy, chair.

2012 to Present

  • Jeremy Baguyos becomes Editor of the ISB's Online Journal of Bass Research.
  • Holds the 2013 convention at the Eastman School of Music, Kristin Korb, chair, Jeff Campbell and James VanDemark, co-chairs. Over 1,300 in attendance from over 30 countries. ISB honors general manager Madeleine Crouch with a CD of music performed by ISB artist members, Dear Madeleine, as a fundraiser for the organization.
  • Launches first-ever convention app in 2013, led by ISB intern Allegra Hale.
  • Connie Brown becomes editor of Bass World.
  • Holds 2015 convention at Colorado State University, Douglas Mapp and Forest Greenough, co-chairs. Hosts a "Build a Bass in a Week" event, led by luthier Paul Hart. The bass, an international team effort of dozens of luthiers, is raffled off to convention attendees with proceeds benefitting the ISB.
  • Launches mobile-friendly version of website, including Find a Teacher and Find a Luthier directories.
  • Launches a Partner in Education program for bass clubs, competitions and bass-focused events.