Francis Carnovale

Double Bass

Francis Carnovale, double bassist, is a native of New York City.  His father left Italy as a child and brought with him a love of opera and encouraged his children to study music as part of a basic education.  Musical training began with piano lessons at the age of 5.  Six years later, someone was needed to take Frank’s younger sister to summer school for clarinet lessons and so his mother asked the fateful question, “What instrument do you need my son to play?” 

Upon receiving a full scholarship to Peabody Conservatory, Frank turned down enrollment in a special physics program at N.Y. State University and left for Baltimore.  In his third year at Peabody, he negotiated approval to study bass with violist, Karen Tuttle, a kindred nonconformist.  Ms. Tuttle’s admiration for the great scat singers’ intuitive sense of note groupings influenced her own approach to constructing musical phrases. But, it was her commitment to ergonomics which motivated Frank to escape the inefficiencies and injuries associated with traditional approaches to the bass   After receiving his bachelor's degree, he went on to complete his master’s degree with violinist, Berl Senofsky.  Mr. Senofsky’s insistence on sound projection by bowing into the bridge greatly influenced Frank’s approach to solo performance.

While still at Peabody, he had the privilege to perform chamber music with Karen Tuttle, Berl Senofsky and Steven Kates and was drafted by pianist, Leon Fleisher to perform with the Kennedy Center’s Theater Chamber Players. (He remained that ensemble’s solo bassist for the next 30 years).

Frank has performed the Schubert “Trout” Quintet and other chamber repertoire with the American Chamber Players at the Library of Congress and other venues across the country.  Currently, he is assistant principal bass for the Kennedy Center Opera House/Washington National Opera Orchestra.