May 8, 2024

MSM Student Spotlight: Meet double bass master’s student Sienna George

Sienna George (BM ’22, MM ’24) is a second year master’s student studying double bass at MSM. She talks to us about her time at MSM, making instrument mutes, and her summer plans.


Sienna was born and raised in Long Beach, California. She is currently studying under the tutelage of Jeremy McCoy at MSM. Outside of Music, Sienna hand carves wooden mutes which she has sold to musicians all around the world.

Sienna grew up playing piano, guitar, cello, and mandolin before picking up bass. Her first orchestra experience was in Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, She has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Disney Concert, Segerstrom Hall, the Netherlands, Italy, and all over China.

She is a member of Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra, NY Arabic Orchestra, accompanying Albert and Alex Markov and actor Alec Baldwin. Sienna plays jazz, folk, rock, and Brazilian music, performing in music festivals including Lightning in a Bottle, LB Love Fest, Idyllwild Summer Festival, LB Funk Fest, Echo Park Rising, and more.

What first drew you to playing double bass?

Sienna: I was drawn to the double bass because it exists in every genre, in different ways, but always as a powerful supporting role. I also love feeling the deep vibrations of the instrument while I play and knew this would be a healing instrument to share good vibrations with the world.

Why did you choose to study at MSM?

Sienna: I chose to study at MSM for both my undergrad and master’s because of the community. I feel so supported as a classical musician and as a human being. The faculty really cares about us being well-rounded artists and people, and what better place to do that than in NYC? I always felt encouraged by MSM to pursue my career both as a classical musician and more. The connections I have made at MSM, both professionally and personally, have changed my life, and I am so grateful to the school for that and hope to pass this on to other alumni.

The faculty really cares about us being well-rounded artists and people, and what better place to do that than in NYC? I always felt encouraged by MSM to pursue my career both as a classical musician and more.

What is your most memorable MSM moment?

Sienna: I have two most memorable moments at MSM. Firstly, performing Le Nozze di Figaro conducted by George Manahan. He conducted and played harpsichord at the same time and would change the chord voicings every night. Each performance had a different joy and expression, and the orchestra felt so cohesive. We were having fun, as you should when playing Mozart!

My other favorite memory was my graduating recital for my undergraduate at MSM in 2022. I played Bach, Ukranian music to share my sentiment for those suffering in Ukraine, and I sang and played bass on some of my original songs with a jazz trio. I was surrounded by friends, family, and felt so much gratitude to have learned so much at MSM.

You make string instrument mutes, how did you get into this?

Sienna: My dad is a woodworker and set designer and taught me how to make mutes when I was in high school. I have always been passionate about carving, whether it’s wood or stone or clay. I showed my mutes to my bass professor in the NY Phil and quickly found clients in major orchestras all over the world. I carve my mutes in my woodshop in California, then bring them back to NYC to finish and sell. I make mutes for violin, viola, cello, and bass.

What do you love about woodworking?

Sienna: Woodworking is humble and timeless. Just like classical music, there are not many shortcuts to making a beautiful product, or sound. You have to imagine what your end goal is, because it is already there. All you have to do is sculpt or carve your sound to find the beauty you seek.

I love how woodworking is art but is so connected to music. I have worked as a luthier, building and repairing guitars and basses, and I now work at Salchow & Sons, a bow shop near Carnegie Hall. Working with wood has helped me become a better musician and understand how our instruments work.

What’s next for you? Any fun summer plans?

Sienna: I will stay in NYC when I graduate this spring. I will continue with my woodworking career, as well as freelancing with orchestras and taking auditions. Outside of classical music, I play a lot of Arabic music, jazz, and indie music around the city. When I’m not playing music, you can find me doing yoga and rock climbing. In August I will likely run off to Mexico or Morocco to surf for a month and write songs by the ocean.

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