Jeffrey Holsen directory profile photo

Jeffrey Holsen

Assistant Principal Bass

Jeffrey Holsen began playing Double Bass at age twelve. At age sixteen, he moved in with his fifth foster father (an organist and organ builder) who began taking him to Milwaukee and Chicago Symphony concerts. Jeffrey attended one of the first US performing arts high schools to offer advanced training. He studied bass with Milwaukee Symphony Assistant Principal and Principal bassists Karel Netolička and Roger Ruggeri. He played Principal Bass in the Milwaukee Youth and UW orchestras and traveled to the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in 1980. At 23, Jeffrey joined the band at Milwaukee’s Stari Grad restaurant. That ensemble performed a huge variety of international music.

Mr. Holsen joined the TSO in 1987. Continuing his studies with Patrick Neher, he completed his Bachelor of Music at the UA. He has taken master classes and seminars with many renowned bassists. Jeffrey has played in Tucson bands performing Klezmer and Balkan music, and works performing freelance in many diverse styles and genres. He has performed with The New Mexico Symphony, Tucson Pops, Tucson Community Chorus, Tucson Boy’s Chorus, Tucson Masterworks Chorus, Waterloo Music Festival, Orchestra Stari Grad, the Klezmopolitans, the UA Balalaika Orchestra, Finestream Gamelan, Molehill Orkestrah, Balkan Spirit (cimbalom), Matt Mitchell, Susan Artemis, Howard Wooten, Todd Hammes, Mark Mantel, and many others. He currently teaches four students.

Interestingly, In Tucson, Jeffrey was given a dilapidated cimbalom – an instrument he first encountered at Stari Grad. He restored it with help from The Pima Arts Council and received a grant to attend the first-ever Cimbalom World Congress in Pec’s, Hungary in 1991, returning in 2007. He constructed Wikipedia’s extensive Cimbalom page. Jeffrey played cimbalom with the Tucson Symphony in the Lord of the Rings Symphony. His hobbies include ethnomusicology, jazz, collecting bizarre recordings, hiking, swimming, camping, yoga, reading, and food.

What's your earliest musical memory?

“Jeffrey’s earliest musical memories are a musical mobile over his crib and early1960s pop radio.”

Who are your musical heroes?

“Some of his musical heroes are… Karel Netolička, Dmitry Mitropoulos, Gregorio Paniagua, Jordi Savall, Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, François Rabbath, Toni Iordache, Uakti, NHOP, Duke Elligton, Keith Jarrett, Manos Hadjidakis, Hermeto Pascoal, Astor Piazzola, Boban Markovic, Esma Redzepova, Umm Kulthum, Ravi Shankar, Cesária Évora, Stevie Wonder, Yes, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, and way too many more to list ”

What's your favorite thing about Tucson?

“His favorite thing about Tucson is… that there are so many places without strict dress codes.”