Greg Heintz, Double Bass
When did you begin to play your instrument?
I started playing the Bass at the beginning of my junior year of high school. The music teachers were more than a little skeptical when I showed up, out of the blue, asking to join the jazz band and orchestra! Luckily, they took a chance on me.
Do you play any other instruments?
I can play a few things on the guitar. I can plunk even fewer things out on the piano.
Where did you study your main instrument; with whom?
I earned my Bachelor of Music Degree in Double Bass Performance from Northern Illinois University, where I studied with ESO bassist John Floeter. I then received a Master’s Degree in Bass Performance from Roosevelt University, studying with Lyric Opera bassist Andy Anderson and Milwaukee Symphony Principal Jon McCullough-Benner.
When did you join ESO?
What other orchestras have you played with/do you play with now?
The Elgin Symphony is the first orchestral job for which I successfully auditioned. I played in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for 2 years, where I was fortunate enough to serve as Principal Bass for many concert cycles. I’ve also been very privileged to appear as a substitute player with many of the fantastic ensembles in the Midwest; including the Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras.
What was your most memorable ESO performance?
To be honest, despite the pandemic cutting the season short, this entire season has been my most memorable. Auditioning is an extremely difficult and competitive process for all musicians, but because of about 20 minutes of playing my best, I was selected to join this fantastic orchestra! I will certainly never forget sitting on stage with the orchestra for the first rehearsal of the season. That first week was a lot of fun.
What are some of your interests, and how are you passing the time?
I remember going to the Elgin Symphony for the first time with my mother and grandparents many years ago. The big piece on the program was Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz.
During my senior year of high school, our orchestra took a field trip to Symphony Center to see the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. The moment I stepped into that hall to hear that orchestra play, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: it was a life-changing experience. I fell in love with the pre-concert energy that filled the hall, from the stage to the audience. The silence that came when the lights dimmed enchanted me, and the superb musicality of that orchestra was astounding.
A few years ago, I began playing chess online for fun. I see a lot of correlations between chess and the performing arts. Much like learning an instrument, it takes years and years of study and practice to become a good chess player. Similar to performing, there are many things in chess you must commit to memory. Chess has themes and variations, composed puzzles, and even its own notation. The pandemic has stopped all in-person tournaments, but many of the top players in the world are still competing in online tournaments. I’ve had a lot of fun watching!
For two years I played in a Bluegrass band called “Truman’s Ridge.” I had to learn around 100 tunes by ear during rehearsals.
I have a wonderful cat named Dancer. She is a big fan of classical music! My fiancée Emily is currently pursuing her Doctorate Degree at UMKC in violin, which for Dancer is fantastic because violin happens to be her favorite instrument. The attached picture shows Dancer helping Emily practice by napping in Emily’s violin case.