Robert Kassinger was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1993. Prior to Chicago, Kassinger performed as assistant principal bass with the Colorado Symphony and also played with the New Orleans Symphony.
In addition to his busy schedule with the Orchestra, he is an active chamber musician. Kassinger performs with the Revolution Ensemble, the Orion Ensemble, Fulcrum Point, Ars Viva, Music of the Baroque, the Callisto Ensemble, MusicNow and broadcasts on WFMT and WTTW. He has been a featured guest with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and has performed Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Daniel Barenboim. Recently Rob has performed Bottesini’s B minor concerto with the DePaul Chamber Orchestra, and he has been featured as soloist and clinician at the Arizona Double Bass Conference, International Society of Bassists and Boulder Bass Festival.
Kassinger grew up in a family of musicians in Boulder, Colorado. He began his bass studies with Frank Carroll at the University of Colorado. In 1985, he moved to New York to study with Homer Mensch at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. Kassinger then pursued his master’s degree at the Juilliard School, continuing his studies with Mensch. He later went on to study with Bruce Bransby at Indiana University.
Some of Kassingers most influential experiences as a student were his two years as principal bass of the New York String Orchestra Seminar, conducted by Alexander Schneider, and the two summers he spent as a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival, studying with Stuart Sankey and Bruce Bransby. In 1989, Kassinger was the winner of the Aspen Double Bass Competition.
Kassinger’s experience as a jazz performer dates back to his early teens, working in the house rhythm section at the infamous Denver jazz club El Chapultapec, and over the years he has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Burrell, the Woody Herman band, Conte Candoli, Charlie Rouse, Teddy Edwards, Harold Land, Red Holloway, Charles Brown, Art Lande, Richard Stoltzman, Gary Burton, Alex Acuna, Laurence Hobgood and Bobby Lewis. Rob has toured India with the Chicago Jazz Express and can be heard on their recordings Voyage to Indi and The Rhythm Section. He also appears on Bobby Lewis’s CD Just Havin’ Some Fun, Daniel Barenboim’s Brazilian Rhapsody and Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk by the Revolution Ensemble. Kassinger’s various other projects have given him a chance to spend more time with the bass guitar. His alternative rock group NYCO has released the albums Two and Realize, available at iTunes. He also appears with the group Liquid Soul and was proud to perform on Robert Irving III’s Sketches of Brazil.
Kassinger is professor of double bass at DePaul University in addition to being a guest instructor at Indiana University. He is in demand as a coach and master clinician, serving in this capacity for the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. It was Kassinger’s honor to teach at the West-Eastern Divan Workshop, a groundbreaking workshop that brings young musicians from Israel and various Arab countries together to study orchestral music with Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma and members of the CSO, Berlin Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Berlin. Additionally, Kassinger served as bass coach at the Canton International Summer Music Academy, under the direction of Charles Dutoit, in Guangzhou, China.
Kassinger lives in the Lincoln Square neighborhood with his wife, violinist Carmen Llop Kassinger, and their two daughters. Rob is an avid bicyclist and loves riding to Symphony Center in all weather conditions.