Julian Atkinson

Principal Double Bass

Raised in Renfrewshire, Julian started playing the double bass aged 11. 'My High School had an amazing music department with an inspirational head of music. I lived in the music department for 6 years, along with many of my school friends. At a recent reunion, it was incredible to see just how many of us have been influenced by this in our lives.'

Julian learned with Bill Hoare and David Inglis in Scotland before studying with Robin McGee at the Royal Academy of Music. Julian joined the CBSO in 1985 and continued his studies with Thomas Martin.

Over his thirty years playing in the orchestra Julian has had many highlights but mentions the opening of Symphony Hall as the single most significant event 'It is a truly world class venue and has been transformative for the orchestra.' Julian has enjoyed the chance of discovering so many interesting places when touring with the orchestra. 'Occasionally we stay in one place for a while, which is always a treat. Among the most memorable residencies have been Jenufa (my favourite opera) in Paris and The Makropulos Case in Aix en Provence, both with Simon conducting. Most recently, playing all the Beethoven symphonies in Bonn with Andris was a very special week.'

Julian enjoys coaching the basses of Birmingham Schools' Concert Orchestra each week, one of the many ensembles of Birmingham Music Service, and also the basses of CBSO Youth Orchestra. Away from music, he particularly enjoys the outdoors. 'I love to get out for a run along the many greenways, rivers and canals of south Birmingham. I also spend probably too much time in the garden.'

Julian is married to Katharine Gittings, an Associate violinist with the orchestra, and they have three children now flying the nest. He is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the CBSO.