Dr. Donovan StokesDr. Donovan Stokes

Shenandoah Conservatory, Professor of Classical and Jazz Bass, 
International Society of Bassists, Former Board Member
Bass Coalition, President, Co-Artistic Director


Donovan Stokes has presented solo performances throughout the U.S., and in Mexico, Norway, Italy, England, France and the Czech Republic. His solo recording Gadaha garnered two JPF Music Award rankings for Best Album and Best Instrumental Song. Described as a musician who “paints primary colours and subtle shades to considerable effect” (The Double Bassist), Stokes is also noted for his “eye-popping display of technical wizardry and showmanship” (Madison Jazz).

As a chamber musician he has had the honor of collaborating with musicians such as Julian Schwarz, Alaria Ensemble, Frisson Ensemble, Clyde Thomas Shaw, Fry Street Quartet, Agua Va!, members of the Audubon Quartet, Stuart Malina, Blanka Bednarz, John O’Connor, David Oei and Seymour Lipkin, among others.

A Full Professor at Shenandoah University-Conservatory, he teaches jazz and classical bass. As a composer, he has enjoyed commissions from, Berry College Orchestra, Barry Green, Blanka Bednarz, The International Society of Bassists Young Bass Division, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and Jerry Fuller. He is also a specialist in the life and work of bassist and composer Rodion Azarkhin.

Dr. Stokes earned degrees from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and Indiana University (M.M. and D.M.), where his major instructors were Lawrence Hurst, and Edgar Meyer. He studied fiddle styles with Crystal Ploughman and Mark O’Connor, string pedagogy with Lawrence Hurst, Helga Winold, Inez Wyrick and Mimi Zweig, and composition with Michael Alec Rose, Michael Kurek and Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn.

Stokes is a former President of Virginia String Teachers Association, Former Board Member for the International Society of Bassists.