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Jeffrey Kail, Principal Double Bass

A decade ago, while still a student at Indiana University, Jeffrey Kail won a position in the Kansas City Symphony’s bass section. In 2008, Kail won a separate audition to become principal bass. He is honored to have observed and taken part in the Kansas City Symphony’s transformational growth over the past 10 seasons. Previously, Kail was a member of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis, Tenn., as well as the Verbier Festival and Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland. He performed as soloist in Mozart’s “Per questa bella mano” with the Kansas City Symphony on the Classics Uncorked Series in 2014 and gave the world premiere of Kerwin Young’s Concerto for Bass with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Wind Symphony in 2013. Kail has performed with the Atlanta, Nashville and Grant Park symphonies. He studied at Indiana University and attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as an orchestral fellow for six summers. Kail is a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and enjoys teaching privately. He was inspired to become an orchestral musician and teacher by his mentor, the late Ralph Jones, principal bass of the Atlanta Symphony for 36 years. After being a proud downtown Kansas City dweller for seven years, Kail now enjoys living in Overland Park, Kan., with his wife, Emma, and their sons, James and Charles. An avid outdoorsman, he hiked Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011. These days, Kail spends his time outside of the Symphony and Conservatory happily wrangling his two boys, both under three years old, and training for marathons very early in the morning.

Ten questions about me:

What is your earliest musical memory?

My second earliest musical memory is listening to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" while my older brother attempted break-dancing.

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

My teacher in high school was Ralph Jones, the principal bassist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For two years I had weekly lessons with him and attended many ASO concerts. It was his dedication to his students, and his enthusiasm about the orchestra that inspired me to be a musician.

What is your favorite thing about performing music?

The confirmation that people can undoubtedly achieve more by working together than they ever could on their own.

What is the most challenging work for your instrument?

The most challenging piece I've played in recent memory is Avner Dorman's "Lost Souls", though Mahler's Symphony No. 5 is no cakewalk either.

What songs/albums are in your iPod/MP3 Player/CD Player right now?

I've been into Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen recently, as well the latest release by Big Boi.

Who is your most inspiring composer?

Johannes Brahms. His music is incredibly beautiful, and the bass parts are definitely some of the best.

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

Being a part of a group that truly has momentum.

What is your most memorable performance with the Kansas City Symphony?

Performing Mahler's 1st Symphony will always stick in my mind. This was my first time playing the prominent (and exposed) bass solo that begins the third movement, and it was my first year as principal bass with the KCS.  It is eight bars that will forever leave you wondering how something that sounds so easy could be so difficult.

What's your "top pick" for downtown dining, or for a post-concert drink or dessert?

The Farmhouse! Incredible local food.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

I hope my great accomplishment is yet to come, but with how difficult it is to win a job in a professional orchestra, I am very proud to be a member of the Kansas City Symphony.