The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB congratulates Hunter Hawkins as the Bob Cole Conservatory Scholar of the Month for September 2019.
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This Week at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music

Bob Cole Conservatory Scholar of the Month:
September 2019

Hunter Hawkins, double bass

Portrait of Hunter Hawkins.

"I first heard Hunter in a masterclass I gave at Saddleback college. I don't know how to teach the double bass but tried to help him out musically. He was holding the bow much like a violinist would. A few months later, he came to audition for Johannes and me mid-year. His focus and unobtrusive curiosity drove him to advance very quickly. Within two semesters, he was already playing principal in the orchestra and volunteers for all musical opportunities that come his way. I will wholeheartedly recommend him for any of the notable master’s programs in double bass. So far, he has met all challenges with grace and flexibility.

—Dr. Moni Simeonov, Director of String Studies

Hunter Hawkins grew up in Southern California and currently lives in San Clemente. He first started learning music in elementary school with guitar, and went on to study clarinet, electric bass, euphonium, marimba, and double bass through high school. Most of his experience in music came from playing electric bass in various bands with friends. While Hunter played many instruments growing up, he was always drawn to the role that the double bass played in the orchestra, as well as its fascinating solo repertoire which continues to grow each year. He decided to pursue studies with classical double bass because one of the things he values most in music is the combined efforts of a group coming together to realize a whole.

What brought you to the Bob Cole Conservatory?
I worked with my teacher, Doug Basye (a BCCM instructor) previously in City College and he is the one who introduced me to the program. I later played in a masterclass at a community college which Moni attended. We met and that is how I got a feel for what the program would be like and learned about the instructors I could be working with.

Who in your family fostered your love of music? Did anyone play instruments?
Most of my family doesn’t play music. They don’t really like singing or anything. But my grandparents really pushed me to listen to their favorite music, so whenever we were in their car they would show me new stuff. When we were in the car they would share new music with me and I think this is where I started getting into it.

What kind of music did they share?
Their favorites—like Elton John, Michael Jackson and several others.

Were you in band when you were in school?
From about the around the age of eight I started playing the guitar because I saw all the rock stars and thought I wanted to be like that. That was a big childhood dream for a lot of my peers and friends. In my first year of middle school I was put into orchestra by accident and at that time I didn’t play any other string instrument at that point, so I began playing the double bass. Even though it was by accident, I loved double bass and since then it has been my sole instrument.

When you’re getting ready to play, is there any special technique or routine that you follow?
Well after I have finished my scales and my bowing exercises, I will try to work in some Bach piece just so I can get my left brain working around all the different lines, phrases, and shapes that I want to be thinking about. Then I will move on to what I actually have to practice.

What is your goal as a double bass player? What do you hope to do after school?
I am planning on attending orchestral auditions in an attempt to win a job and keep that spot. I also want to explore the music written for the double bass. We are lucky as bass players because we have an ever-expanding repertoire—modern composers want to write for us. We don’t have a classical catalog like other strings where you find things like the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. We get to communicate with living composers. This is the standard: playing music that is just coming out today.

Besides classical and opera, what other music do you like to listen to?
I like progressive rock and progressive metal. When I started getting into that it was because a lot of people were pushing their technical boundaries of what they could achieve on the instrument—like to the max. And that was very eye opening for me as to what could be done. For instance, there is Tosin Abasi, the lead guitarist of the band Animals as Leaders and previously guitarist for Reflus. He, unlike many others, can play both technically and musically and merges the two, creating a sound that is like outreach and stuff.

What do you in your free time besides music?
Lately I have been into roller skating, so I will go to a rink and just spend the evening there skating. If I don’t have the time or it isn’t a roller-skating night, I like to cook. I don’t know if I am any good yet.

Do you use a recipe book or get recipes from TV shows?
I use the internet to look for different recipes. Or I will remember something I had at a restaurant and I will try to duplicate it.

Previously Honored Cole Scholars of the Month







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