New Jersey mourns its principal double bass, 64

New Jersey mourns its principal double bass, 64


norman lebrecht

September 04, 2018

The NJSO has announced the death of Paul Harris, its principal double bass for 28 years and a regular stand-in with the NewYork Philharmonic.

Its obituary is written by Paul himself.

…The Plays and Sonnets of William Shakespeare, the Music Dramas of Richard Wagner and the works of numerous philosophers from Plato to Descartes and from Kant to Foucault were also passions for Paul. He was a devoted autodidact as much as he could be, leaving no stones unturned in the quest for enlightenment, and a cover to cover ‘philological’ reader.

Nearly 30 years ago he chose to live an ascetic life, giving up television and light entertainment for a voracious consumption of those timeless works. He designed, furnished and decorated a castle in his mind; a happy place of refuge from the paradoxes of normal human experience.


  • Mariusz Smolij says:

    Wonderful man and player. RIP

  • Peter Rubardt says:

    I’m so very saddened to hear this. I was the Resident Conductor of the NJSO when Paul was appointed Principal Bass, and also worked with him in several other contexts. His deep thoughtfulness and calm graciousness garnered him enormous respect from all who were lucky enough to know him.