Associate Principal Bass Max Zeugner, The Herbert M. Citrin Chair, joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2012. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, he started studying classical guitar before transitioning to electric bass and finally to double bass and received lessons from the Joy of Music Program and Burncoat High School’s Music Magnet Program. After attending a summer chamber music workshop at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, New Hampshire, he shifted his focus from jazz to classical. He began taking lessons at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School with bassist Deborah Dunham and studied with Richard Hartshorne. He joined youth orchestras in Boston and in 2001 he was runner up at the Boston Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. He went on to become a scholarship student of New York Philharmonic bassist Orin O’Brien at The Juilliard School and Edwin Barker at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, where he won the 2005 Concerto Competition.
Mr. Zeugner has performed chamber music extensively in the United States, Europe, South America, and the Far East. He has twice been a guest artist with the Boston Chamber Music Society and has performed with pianist David Deveau on Bank of America’s Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall in Boston. He has performed, recorded, and toured with the Apple Hill Chamber Players and has been on their Summer Chamber Music Faculty since 2006. He is a founding member of the Worcester Chamber Music Society; gave a performance of Mozart’s Per questa bella mano with bass-baritone Daniel Gross at the Elbereth Chamber Music Series in New York City; and performed with the Providence Quartet, Apple Hill String Quartet, and Quartet X and artists including Thomas Zehetmair, Ian Bostridge, Andrew Manze, and Gordon Nicolich. As a soloist, Mr. Zeugner performs frequently with his wife, pianist/fortepianist Yi-heng Yang, and they have concertized on the United States’ East and West Coasts and in Europe. In the non-classical realm, he is a former member of the Eastern Jazz Project, Charles Ketter Quartet, and Delfino Brothers Duo and has performed with such artists as Joanna Newsom, Kelly Polar, and the Pet Shop Boys.
When he was 22, Mr. Zeugner was appointed section leader (i.e. principal) double bass of the Northern Sinfonia. The following year he was offered a trial as principal double bass with the London Symphony Orchestra, which included concerts in London, Spain, and Ireland as well as recording and education work. In 2010, following a brief stint with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Zeugner was appointed principal double bass with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester, England; while in England he recorded for the Avie Classics, NMC, Naxos, Chandos, Teldec, and LSO Live labels.
Mr. Zeugner has served on the faculties of the Royal Northern College of Music, Newcastle University, and The Sage Gateshead Weekend School and has coached the double bass sections of Britain’s Young Sinfonia and National Youth Orchestra and the Durham University Orchestra. In August 2008 he made his debut as a conductor leading the Darlington Youth Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival. He continues to work as a music educator at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music.