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Chicago composer & bassist
Karl E. H. Seigfried composes, performs, and teaches as a contrabassist, electric bassist, acoustic guitarist, electric guitarist, lap steel guitarist, and tubist. A featured artist on Imaginary Chicago Records, he can also be heard on new releases from Albany Records, Atlantic Records, and Voiceprint Records (England).
Karl holds a doctorate in Double Bass Performance, and his treatise on Wilbur Ware - the only scholarly work on the Chicago bassist - was recently cited in Robin Kelley's new book on Thelonious Monk. He studied Literature (English, American, and German), Art, Architecture, and Music in San Diego, Rome, Madison, and Austin. He writes on boxing for East Side Boxing and trains as a bodybuilder. He is currently working with New Music innovator Bertram Turetzky on his long-awaited autobiography.
As a bass teacher, Karl is an eighth-generation descendant of Wenzel Hause, the founder of the Prague School of Double Bass. Through two of his teachers, Bertram Turetzky and Richard Davis, Karl's lineage goes back directly through David Walter, Frederick Zimmermann, Hermann Reinshagen, Ludwig Manoly, Franz Simandl, Josef Hrabe, to Hause himself.
Karl serves is on faculty at Carthage College and Loyola University Chicago's School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Karl has received international recognition for his solo album CRIMINAL MASTERMIND, his trio album BOYKIN, SEIGFRIED, & REED and his quartet album BLUE RHIZOME. The first features original compositions for solo contrabass, and the last is a recording of the extended work he wrote for and performed with The New Quartet on a composition grant from Gallery 37.
Karl has performed on stage with a wide variety of major artists in modern jazz, including Fred Anderson, Jim Baker, Robert Barry, David Boykin, Anthony Davis, Henry Grimes, Fred Hopkins, Peter Kowald, George Lewis, Bobby McFerrin, and Roscoe Mitchell. His own groups have featured Ernest Dawkins, Jimmy Ellis, Aaron Getsug, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Isaiah Spencer, and Avreeayl Ra. He has performed with big bands including the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Dick Jurgens Orchestra, and he has played jazz bass onstage with Saturday Night Live's Martin Short.
He currently leads The New Quartet, The Seigfried Trio, The Galaxy String Quartet, and performs regularly with Renée Baker.
On electric guitar, Karl leads The Soul Power Trio. The SPT has shared the stage with both sludge metal superstars Jucifer and doom metal pioneers Pentagram.
Karl is a proud member of the space rock supergroup Spirits Burning, which features members of Hawkwind, Citizen Fish, Gong, Soft Machine, Psychic TV, Van der Graaf Generator, Cartoon, The Tubes, and Jefferson Starship. He was featured on contrabass with the group for a psychedelic cover of Ace of Spades for the Motorhead tribute album SHEEP IN WOLVES' CLOTHING. The latest Spirits Burning album on Voiceprint Records (England) is CRAZY FLUID, which features Karl on contrabass for a space rock take on Rock In Opposition (RIO). 2009's BLOODLINES features Karl's work on both contrabass and fretless electric bass with Hawkwind members Simon House and Bridget Wishart.
Karl is currently laying down orchestras of guitars, basses, and tubas for the debut recording by the group Thunor, which is a collaboration with Alan Davey, 25-year frontman of the legendary British space rock band Hawkwind. Cover art for the first Thunor recording will be by Judge Dredd / X-Factor artist Boo Cook.
Boo & Karl recently performed together (live drawing and solo bass) for the Third Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival. Boo also drew Karl's cameo in JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE 265.
Karl plays upright bass, electric bass, and acoustic guitar for Americana superstars The Lost Cartographers. Their debut album, WALK ON was recently released by Imaginary Chicago Records.
Karl plays Principal Bass for the Chicago Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble, Chamber Opera Chicago, the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble, the Erato Chamber Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. With the PSO, he has led the bass section behind Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Evelyn Glennie, Hilary Hahn, Sharon Isbin, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O'Connor, and Itzhak Perlman.
He is a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta; he performed with the orchestra for their concerts with Poi Dog Pondering and Muddy Waters guitarist John Primer. He is also a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, where he often plays principal, jazz, and electric bass. He played bass for the Chicago premieres of both the Lord of the Rings Symphony and Music of Final Fantasy.
Karl has performed for concerts or recordings as Principal Bass for the City Symphony of Chicago, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, Opera Illinois, the Peoria Ballet, and the Sugar Creek Festival Orchestra. He is also active as a chamber musician, and has been featured in all of the concerts on The Chamber Series at the Joffrey Ballet.