Shinji Eshima, a graduate of Stanford University and of the Juilliard School has been a double-bassist in the San Francisco Opera since 1980 and is the Associate Principal Bass in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. He is on the faculty at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
An award winning composer, he has written for a variety of venues including theater, documentary films, chamber music, opera and has even written Buddhist hymns. His music has been commissioned and performed around the world by such artists as Steven Dibner, Carey Bell, Emil Miland, Rufus Olivier, Gary Karr, Frank Proto, and the contemporary chamber music ensemble, Adesso.
The esteemed conductor Donald Runnicles wrote of Mr. Eshima, "While I am well acquainted with the talents of Shinji Eshima as an extraordinary double-bass player, I would like to sing his praises as a quite exceptional composer. I have had the privilege of hearing a number of his compositions - indeed, have had the honor of being privy to the very process of composition - the San Francisco Opera is giving serious thought to performing Shinji's remarkable compositions - he has a quite individual voice, a voice that I consider to be vital in our effort to encourage new audiences to embrace our art form, whether symphonic or operatic. May his voice be given a chance to speak loud and clear to future generations of classical music lovers!"
His most recent commission was RAkU written for San Francisco Ballet, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov. It premiered February 3, 2011.
Mr Eshima plays the Plumerel double bass, 1843, formerly owned by his teacher David Walter, and is the instrument featured in the painting by Edgar Degas, "The Orchestra of the Opera", which hangs in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.