Donovan Stokes

Donovan Stokes enjoys a varied career of performing, composing, writing and teaching. His solo recording Gadaha garnered two J.P.F Music Award rankings for best album and best instrumental song. Described as a musician who “paints primary colors and subtle shades to considerable effect” (the double bassist), Stokes is also noted for his “eye-popping display of technical wizardry and showmanship” (Madison Jazz).

Dr. Stokes has given classes and performed as soloist throughout the U.S., in Mexico, Norway, Italy, England, France and the Czech Republic. He is regularly seen at the Richard Davis bass conference in Madison, WI, the international society of bassists conference and at the Milt Hinton institute (Oberlin).

A full professor at Shenandoah University – Conservatory, he teaches jazz and classical bass and acts as string chair. He offers a range of online instruction  and has created an upright slap bass instructional video available exclusively online. As a composer he has enjoyed commissions from Barry Green, Blanka Bednarz, The International Society of Bassists Young Bass Division, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and Jerry Fuller, AMONG OTHERS. among others. He is also and expert in the life and work of bassist Rodion Azarkhin and writes a regular column on the double bass at notreble.Com.

As a chamber musician he has had the honor of collaborating with musicians Clyde Thomas Shaw, Fry Street Quartet, Agua Va!, members of the Audubon Quartet, Stuart Malina, Blanka Bednarz, Eriko Sato, John O’Connor , David Oui and Seymour Lipkin, among others. Stokes also performs jazz, Americana, rock and gypsy jazz regularly and is one half of the jazz bass duo “Two Bass Hit.”

Dr. Stokes earned degrees from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and Indiana University (M.M. And D.M.), where his major instructors were Lawrence Hurst, and Edgar Meyer. He studied fiddle styles with Crystal Ploughman and Mark O’Connor, string pedagogy with Lawrence Hurst, Helga Winold, Inez Wyrick and Mimi Zweig, and composition with Michael Alec Rose, Michael Kurek and Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn.

Stokes is also a board member for the International Society of Bassists, past-president of the Virginia String Teachers Association, and Artistic Director of the Bass Coalition and their annual bass workshop where he head a highly selective a one-week intensive program for advanced bassists. Visit him on the web at or find him on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope.