Joseph Conyers has won an audition for the assistant principal double bass spot in the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Conyers, 29, will stand/sit not far from principal bassist Harold Robinson, his former teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music. It's the chair being vacated by Neil Courtney, who will retire at the end of the season. Conyers graduated from Curtis in 2004, where he also studied with Edgar Meyer, and is currently a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has played with the Boston and Detroit Symphonies, Minnesota Orchestra, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Before Atlanta, was principal double bassist of the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Conyers and the orchestra haven't hammered out a contract yet (no reason to think they won't), but with a signed contract he will be the first African American member of the orchestra to be hired since 1974.
Yes, that's 36 years.
According to a profile on Project 440: Conyers performs on the 'Zimmerman/Gladstone' 1802 Vincenzo Panormo double bass - which he has nicknamed simply 'Norma.'