Robert Franenberg

Robert Franenberg

I was born in Los Angeles California and started playing the contrabass at the age of 10 upon entering junior-high school. There we had the choice of singing in the choir or learning a musical instrument. At the time I was only interested in baseball and basketball, so for the fun of it, I decided to learn an instrument.

Not knowing which instrument to choose, my mother suggested the contrabass, since I was quite tall for my age. After learning to get around on this gigantic instrument, I found that it was indeed fun to play. In senior-high school I played in the school orchestra and jazz band.

It was in this period that I started getting more interested and serious about playing classical music and decided to major in music at university with the dream of one day playing in a symphony orchestra. At university I had heard recordings of early music greats like Gustav Leonhardt and Frans Brüggen, which opened up a new sound world of classical music for me. These recordings inspired me to continue my studies at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam.

In 1984 I became a member Rotterdam Philharmonic with a part time contract enabling me to later become the bassist of the Nederlandse Bachvereniging and a member of the Orkest van de 18e Eeuw. Giving up the wonderful Californian weather, the Netherlands has offered me a rich and varied musical life. Aside from music I enjoy running and cooking, especially baking cakes.

Watch this interview with Robert on the contrabass & violone: