Find Your True North

Garth Stevenson


Garth Stevenson is a Brooklyn-based film composer and double bassist. Raised in the mountains of Western Canada, nature became his primary inspiration and the common thread between his life and music. Garth has released three full-length solo albums, informed by his experiences playing his 160-year-old double bass in remote nature locations. The albums are Voyage (2016), Flying (2011), Alpine (2007). Of Flying, iTunes praises, “Garth Stevenson joins the likes of Brian Eno, Sigur Rós, and David Sylvian as a practitioner of this ethereal yet accessible genre… ‘The Southern Sea’ offers the aural equivalent of effortlessly swimming underwater without ever needing to come up for air.”

In 2010, Stevenson took a journey to Antarctica on an ice-breaker full of renowned artists including author Cormac McCarthy and actress Juliette Binoche. Stevenson played his double bass to seals, penguins and icebergs while composing the score and acting in the feature film directed by Scott Cohen, featuring Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men. Roger Payne, the famous whale researcher and first to record the humpback whales in the 60′s was also on the trip. “I spent a few weeks prior to the trip learning to adapt whale calls on my bass by playing along with Roger’s Songs Of The Humpback Whales recording the same way I used to play along with jazz albums. One evening, in the middle of a four-day open sea crossing between South Georgia and Antarctica, I gave a concert at sunset on the bow of our ship. I was improvising and creating layers with my loop pedal then started imitating whale calls on the bass. A few minutes later twelve sei whales came and swam next to our vessel!”

Stevenson has composed the original scores to:

• Tracks – directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore), produced by See Saw Films (The Kings Speech) starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right, Jane Eyre) and Adam Driver (Girls, Lincoln).

• Ten Thousand Saints – directed by Robert Pulcini and Shari Berman (American Splendor), starring Ethan Hawke, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch, Asa Butterfield, Emily Mortimer, Julianne Nicholson, produced by Luca Borghese, Anne Carey, Amy Nauiokas, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler.

• Roadside Picnic – (pilot episode) directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Lost, The Sopranos, Mad Men) starring Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game)

• The Red Knot – a feature film shot in Antarctica directed by Scott Cohen, featuring Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Olivia Thirlby(Juno) and Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer).

• Tater Tot and Patton – directed by Andrew Knightlinger, starring Bates Wilder and Jessica Roth.

• Resilience – a documentary directed by James Redford looks at the emerging science around toxic stress: experiences that, untreated, can negatively alter the brains and bodies of our children.

• Seed: The Untold Story: -directed by Taggart Seigle (Queen Sun, Real Dirt on Farmer John) and Jon Betz. Produced by Marisa Tomei, Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine), and Phil Fairclough (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams).

• A Fierce Green Fire – an environmental documentary by Oscar nominated director Mark Kitchell, narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Ashley Judd. Official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

• The Young Lakota – a documentary following the youth on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Official selection at Big Sky Film Festival.

• Elon + Emmanuelle – a short dance film directed by Natalie Galazka. Produced for Bravo.

• On Meditation – an evolving series of portrait films that explore the deeply personal practice of meditation. Portraits include: The Venerable Metteyya, Elena Brower, Peter Mathiessen, Giancarlo Esposito, Congressman Tim Ryan.

• L’Aubade – an animated short film by Carla Susanto. Official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival.

• Leela – a meditative video game based on the teachings of Deepak Chopra. Produced by THQ for Xbox, Wii, DS, Play Station 3.

• Barnes and Noble: Read Forever – a national advertising campaign for the Nook.

• Lululemon: Meet a Goal Setter – internet advertising campaign.

In 2008, Stevenson was awarded with the International Society of Bassists composition competition first prize for his innovative piece “Grandfather: for double bass and electronics” and subsequently served as a judge for the competition in 2010. He will be performing and lecturing at the 2013 ISB conference. In 2009 he was commissioned by Robert Nairn, Juilliard faculty, and Heidi Von Bernewitz of the London Philharmonic to composed “Migration: for double bass and viola”. He composed the string quartets for Sonya Kitchell’s most recent album Convict of Conviction. Stevenson is a four time grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Stevenson introduced his music to the yoga community at the Wanderlust Festival in 2009 where he improvised during classes and lead large groups of hikers into the mountains to perform his solo music. He has performed at Wanderlust every year and partnered with the festival for the release of Flying. He collaborates regularly with teacher Elena Brower at Virayoga, her studio in New York. Together they have led classes at Wanderlust, MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, Mexico and at the world’s largest yoga class in Central Park for 13 000 people and for France’s largest yoga gathering in history for over 3000 people in front of the Eiffel Tower. He has also collaborated with Schuyler Grant, Amy Ippoliti, Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen, Kelly Blaser, Kate Greer, Richmond Dickson, Sianna Sherman, Stacey Rosenberg, Kenny Graham, Tara Glazier, Kevin Courtney, Dana Courtney.

Stevenson is a founding member of 5707, the ambient duo with guitarist Ryan Ferreira and TAQ, a polish piano trio with Marcin Masecki and Ziv Ravitz. He is well known in the New York improvised and experimental music scene having collaborated with Mat Maneri, Craig Taiborn, Ornette Coleman, David Tronzo, and video artist Joshue Ott. In July 2012, he traveled to Tuva, a Russian province on the border of Mongolia, for an artist residency. There he performed and collaborated with world-renowned throat singers including: Alash Ensemble, Huun-Huur Tu, Kongar-ool Ondar, Andre Mongush and the Tuvan National Orchestra. As a freelance bassist he has recorded on over 50 albums and has performed John Shannon, the Crash Test Dummies, Fitz and the Tantrums, Annie and the Beekeepers, and Lucy Wainwright.

Stevenson attended the Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship and received a degree in Performance and Jazz Composition. He has performed throughout Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Antarctica. He has appeared on David Letterman, Craig Fergusson, hundreds of radio stations, at Bonnaroo, and at music festivals in Europe, Japan, Russia, Canada, and South America.