Robert Kassinger was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1993. Prior to Chicago, Rob performed as assistant principal bass with the Colorado Symphony and also played with the New Orleans Symphony.
In addition to his busy schedule with the Orchestra, he is an active chamber musician. Rob performs with the Revolution Ensemble, the Orion Ensemble, Fulcrum Point, Ars Viva, Music of the Baroque, the Callisto Ensemble, MusicNow, and broadcasts on WFMT and WTTW. He has been a featured guest with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and has performed Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with Daniel Barenboim. Most recently Rob performed the Bottesini b minor Concerto with the DePaul Chamber Orchestra, and was featured as soloist and clinician at the 2008 Arizona Double Bass Conference.
Rob grew up in a family of musicians in Boulder, Colorado. He began his bass studies with Frank Carroll at the University of Colorado. In 1985 he moved to New York to study with Homer Mensch at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. Rob then pursued his Masters degree at the Juilliard School, continuing his studies with Mr. Mensch. He later went on to study with Bruce Bransby at Indiana University. Some of Mr. Kassingers most influential experiences as a student were his two years as principal bass of the New York String Orchestra Seminar, conducted by Alexander Schneider, and the two summers he spent as a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival, studying with Stuart Sankey and Bruce Bransby. In 1989 Rob was the winner of the Aspen Double Bass Competition.
Rob's experience as a jazz performer dates back to his early teens, working in the house rhythm section at the infamous Denver jazz club El Chapultapec, and over the years he has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Burrell, the Woody Herman band, Conte Candoli, Charlie Rouse, Teddy Edwards, Harold Land, Red Holloway, Charles Brown, Art Lande, Richard Stoltzman, Gary Burton, Alex Acuna, Laurence Hobgood, and Bobby Lewis. In 1998 and 2000, Rob toured India with the Chicago Jazz Express, and can be heard on their recordings "Voyage to India" and "the Rhythm Section". He also appears on Bobby Lewis' latest CD "Just havin' some fun". In addition, Rob is featured on Daniel Barenboim's "Brazilian Rhapsody" on the Teldec label, and "Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk" by the Revolution Ensemble. Robs latest project has given him a chance to spend more time with the bass guitar. His alternative rock group NYCO has released the albums “Two” and “Realize”, both available through nycomusic.com and at iTunes.com.
Rob is Professor of Double Bass at DePaul University, in addition to being a guest instructor at Indiana University, 2006 and 2007. He is also in demand as a coach and master clinician, serving in this capacity for the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music and the 2007 International Society of Bassists Convention. In the summers of 1999 through 2002 it was Rob's honor to teach at the West-Eastern Divan, a ground-breaking workshop that brings young musicians from Israel and various Arab countries together to study orchestral music with Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma, and members of the CSO, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Rob has taught in the summers of 2006 and 2007 at the Canton International Summer Music Academy, under the direction of Maestro Charles Dutoit, in Guangzhou, China.