Ethan Sobotta is a versatile Seattle-based bassist and educator, as comfortable performing symphonic music, jazz, and rockabilly on acoustic bass as he is with funk and rock music on electric bass. Beginning his musical career as a trombonist in the Eau Claire, WI public school system, Ethan added guitar to his repertoire in high school. Shortly before his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he switched to bass to help out a friend’s band in need of a bass player (a typical scenario, to be sure). While Ethan started out as an advertising major, he was committed to a life in music by the end of his sophomore year, and began studies as a music major the following year. His undergraduate bass studies were with James Clute, former Associate Principal Bass of the Minnesota Orchestra. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, he went on to study with Peter Lloyd, then-Principal Bass of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Patrick Neher at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
While still an undergraduate, Ethan began performing with the LaCrosse Symphony Orchestra. After college, he played in the bass sections of the Rochester and Metropolitan Symphonies, both in Minnesota. He also served as the solo bass for the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. At the same time as his orchestral activities, Ethan was busy playing jazz gigs at various Minneapolis institutions with artists like Dennis Spears and Vicky Mountain and touring with funk/salsa/swing band Three Beers ’til Dubuque.
After moving to Seattle, Ethan began establishing himself as a versatile and reliable freelance bassist. He can be seen in performances with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra, Celtic bluegrass band The Wages of Sin, cabaret jazz group Zizzy Zi Zixxy, Lake Union Civic Orchestra, the pit orchestras of various musicals around the Seattle metro area, and in many other venues. Keep an eye out and come say hi at the gigs!