Boston Symphony Orchestra double bass player Joseph Hearne was born in Ohio and grew up in Portland, Oregon. While a student, he was a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Festival Orchestra in Colorado. During summers in Aspen, he studied with Stuart Sankey, double bass instructor of the Juilliard School, and upon graduation from high school was offered the Eleanor Saterlee Memorial Scholarship at Juilliard. While in his second year at Juilliard, he auditioned for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and in September 1962, at age 20, became a member of the BSO. "I am overjoyed that I have been able to spend my life fulfilling my childhood ambition, becoming a musician in one of the world's great orchestras," he said.
Besides performing with the BSO, Hearne has been a member of the Incredible String Quartet, an ensemble of four double basses that has played both locally and internationally, performing at a luncheon honoring Seiji Ozawa at the Tokyo Press Club in Japan and on NBC's Today with Gene Shalit.
Hearne has pursued a wide range of other interests, including welding ornamental iron work and skiing; since 1965 he has been a commercial pilot. Among his licenses are an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, a Citation Jet type rating, and numerous flight instructor ratings in aircraft ranging from gliders to multi-engine aircraft to seaplanes. Many of Hearne's musical colleagues have been his passengers over the years, including Arthur Fiedler, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Isaac Stern, and George Kidder, and fellow members of the BSO.
Besides music and flying, Joseph Hearne works as artist representative for his wife, New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Jan Brett.
"I travel with Jan on all of her many appearances and she travels with the BSO on all of our tours," he says. "Often the ideas in Jan's books come first from the countries that we have visited with the BSO. It is wonderful to see vistas of our travels together reflected in the beauty of her books. We enjoy the opportunity to work together in our two professions."