BHS graduate wins position with Houston Symphony

By RENEE TOMELL - rtomell@shawmedia.com Published: Friday, June 16, 2017 5:34 p.m. CDT
Andrew Pedersen, a double bass artist, has been picked to join the ranks of the Houston Symphony. The Batavia High School graduate just earned his master's degree in performance. — Photo provided

BATAVIA – An intense four-day audition process to land a double bass position with the Houston Symphony drew 39 contenders, including Andrew Pedersen, a Batavia High School graduate.

A few months before earning a master’s degree in performance from Rice University in Texas, the young artist auditioned for the position in the Houston Symphony and played his way to a seat in the orchestra.

“We’re really excited – it’s a huge process,” said Karen Pedersen, his mother.

She and husband David operate Pedersen Design in Batavia, a graphic design firm.

While neither parent is particularly musical, she said both their sons are following a musician’s career track. Younger brother Sam is working on a master’s degree at Rice in viola. Locally, he has been a student of Susan Starrett in North Aurora. Both brothers did their undergraduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago.

In an interview on ContrabassConversations.com, Andrew Pedersen noted the Houston Symphony is expanding its double bass section, and he will be the eighth member. He said he prepared for the daunting challenge of the audition process by trying to get into the mindset that he was playing for people he knows and cares about.

Both Pedersen brothers attended Batavia schools from the start.

“Batavia has been really good to our kids,” Karen Pedersen said. “There were lots of opportunities, and they took advantage of everything they could. … Both of our guys have been so dedicated and have worked so hard.”

She said they received encouragement from band directors at every level, noting that now retired Batavia High School band director John Heath even traveled to New York City to hear Andrew Pedersen perform at Carnegie Hall.

Before he begins his new position with the Houston Symphony, he will spend about five weeks in Switzerland playing with an orchestra there.

Currently, he and his brother have been keeping busy this summer subbing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

For other families with young people contemplating a career in performance, Karen Pedersen has words of encouragement she said are important to share.

“It is possible to make it in the arts,” she said. “There really is a way. It does happen.