Maxime Bibeau at the Barbican

Maxime Bibeau

Principal Double Bass

Chair sponsored by Darin Cooper Foundation


French-Canadian double bassist Maxime Bibeau has been Principal Double Bass with the Australian Chamber Orchestra since 1998.

Maxime never intended to play classical music. As a teenager in Québec, he was interested in a career in science, until he started listening to jazz and was inspired to take up the double bass. However when he picked up the instrument at the age of seventeen, he realised that he had to learn classical bass first, and found himself so captivated that he never moved on to jazz.

Maxime went on to study at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec in Montréal, and obtained a Masters of Music from Rice University in Houston with Timothy Pitts and Paul Ellison, where he was awarded a full university scholarship as well as grants from the Canada Arts Council and the Canadian Research Assistance Fund.

It was while he was living in the USA that Maxime first heard the ACO play in New York, the night before his audition. The performance was, he says, “a revelation”. Until joining the Orchestra in 1998, Maxime had never imagined that his regular reading of string quartet music with friends would become a natural progression to playing in an orchestra with just one double bass, but a huge range of repertoire.

In addition to playing with the ACO, Maxime has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, WDR Orchestra and Swedish Radio Orchestra. He has appeared at numerous programs and music festivals worldwide including the SHIRA International Symphony Orchestra Israel, Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, Waterloo Festival Centre d’Art d’Orford and Domaine Forget.

Maxime Bibeau
Maxime Bibeau
Maxime Bibeau
Maxime Bibeau
Maxime Bibeau at the Barbican
Max Bibeau

As an educator Maxime has been involved with the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp, Sydney Youth Orchestra, University of NSW, Tokyo University of the Arts, Australian National Academy of Music and was a lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for nearly a decade.

Maxime is interested in pushing the boundaries of what the double bass can be and do, and in exploring its important and active role; he considers this a means of keeping the instrument ‘alive’. He has premiered a number of new works for the instrument, including the world premiere of Missy Mazzolli’s Dark with Excessive Bright Double Bass Concerto, James Ledger's Folk Song and Matthew Hindson's Crime and Punishment.

Maxime’s instrument is the oldest of the ACO’s collection, dating from 1585 and on loan from a private Australian benefactor. It was made by Gasparo da Salò in Brecia Northern Italy and is believed to have resided for several centuries in a single abbey, the Neustift Monastery, where it survived bombing in World War II.
Maxime also helps the ACO produce many of its commercial recordings and loves the hands-on nature of the company. He plans to finally learn how to play jazz after he retires.

The 1585 Da Salo Bass

1585 Da Salo Bass

Learn about Maxime's instrument, a towering double bass with an extraordinary history that spans over 400 years.
Ike See and Maxime Bibeau

A Life of Music

ACO Violin Ike See and ACO Principal Bass Maxime Bibeau celebrate milestone years at the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Interview by Eileen Chong.

Meet The Orchestra