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, the bass instructor of the Juilliard School, and upon graduation from high school, he was offered the Eleanor Saterlee Memorial Scholarship at Juilliard. During his second year at Juilliard, he auditioned for the Boston Symphony. The following fall, in September 1962, at the age of 20, he became a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. "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 says.
Besides performing with the BSO, Mr. Hearne has been a member of The Incredible String Quartet, an ensemble of four double basses that has played both locally and nationally, performing at a luncheon honoring Seiji Ozawa at the Tokyo Press Club in Japan and on the NBC's The Today Show with Gene Shalit.
Mr. Hearne has pursued a wide range of other interests. He has been a welder of ornamental iron work, skier, and since 1965, 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 Mr. Hearne's musical colleagues have been his passengers over the years, including Arthur Fiedler, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Isaac Stern, and George Kidder, along with many of the members of the Boston Symphony.
Besides music and flying, Mr. Hearne works as artist representative for his wife, New York Times best-selling author/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 Boston Symphony. 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."