Riccardo Muti appointed Alexander Hanna principal bass of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 2012. His appointment comes after serving as principal bass of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for four years. Born and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio, Hanna began his musical studies at age 4 taking piano lessons at Bowling Green State University with Kay Moore. Inspired by the amazing sound of the symphony orchestra, at the age of 13 Hanna decided to pursue a career in a symphony orchestra as a bassist.
Throughout his youth he was performing all the time as a recitalist on both piano and bass and also as concerto soloist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on both instruments. In 2004 Hanna was invited to study at the Curtis Institute of Music with Hal Robinson and Edgar Meyer.
During Hanna’s studies at Curtis he began a very active freelance career and has since played with many of the world’s great orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra among many others. Hanna has served as principal bass of the Tanglewood, Verbier and Bellingham Festivals. He has also served as principal bass of the “All-star Orchestra” in New York City: an orchestra comprised of musicians from many of America’s great orchestras. The orchestra’s performances will be featured in televised broadcasts on PBS in 2013.
A dedicated teacher, Hanna is on faculty at DePaul University and has given master classes and lectures at the Hawaii Contrabass Festival, the biannual convention of the International Society of Bassists and many of the country’s finest conservatories and universities. He is the coach for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago’s bass section and has coached the Detroit Civic Youth Ensembles.
In addition to music, Hanna pursues hiking, cycling, running and swimming.