Bassist George Speed enjoys a career that combines teaching with solo, chamber, and orchestral performing. He is Associate Professor of Double Bass and Principal Bass of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
In the orchestral sphere, Mr. Speed held a tenured position with the now-defunct Florida Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001-2003. In 2005, he was appointed Principal Bass with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, with which he performed close to 30 concerts last year. From 1999-2015, Mr. Speed performed regularly with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, including 26 domestic and 3 international tours, and nationally televised performances at Super Bowl XXXVI and for 13 Independence Day concerts.
Mr. Speed is passionate about both chamber music and solo performance. A frequent recitalist, he also plays regularly with the Oklahoma City-based chamber ensemble Brightmusic. In 1999, the Pierre Boulez Workshop at Carnegie Hall selected Mr. Speed to perform in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall under Maestro Boulez. In August 2018, Centaur Records released Mr. Speed’s debut solo album: a recording of his Vivaldi cello sonata 1-6 transcriptions.
A devoted educator, Mr. Speed received the 2009 Wise-Diggs-Berry Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts at Oklahoma State University. In 2016, he was appointed to the artist faculty of the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. Locally, Mr. Speed is committed to the advancement of double bass playing in Oklahoma, having presented numerous clinics around the state. In 2005, Mr. Speed was a co-founder of the Oklahoma Bass Bash, a summer clinic for Oklahoma pre-college bassists. The Bass Bash, now in its fourteenth year, is a thriving collaborative effort between OSU and OU, with the location of the camp alternating annually between Stillwater and Norman.
A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Mr. Speed earned his Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University, and his Master of Music from Boston University. Additional studies include two summers at both the Aspen Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center. His principal teachers have been Edwin Barker, Edgar Meyer, and William Scott.