Sam Copeland

Bassist, composer, arranger, and educator specializing in the classical and jazz idioms


Based in Kansas City, bassist Sam Copeland’s artistic career spans performance in jazz and classical music, composition, arranging, and education.

Sam is one of the most sought-after jazz bassists in the region. Sam serves as bassist in Riff Generation, a ten-piece jazz collective sponsored by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, dedicated to performing original music and exploring the relationship between composed and improvised modes of music making. An active session musician, Sam has recorded with William Flynn, Nate Nall, and many others. Sam's own group, Sam Copeland Quartet, has performed at the Capital Jazz Fest in Jefferson City, MO and the Blue Note Jazz Fest in Columbia, MO. Sam has performed and recorded with numerous other local, regional, and international artists, including Matt Otto, Dan Thomas, Roger Wilder, Rob Scheps, Danny Embrey, Jim Lower, Bobby Watson, and many more.

As a classical musician, Sam has performed professionally in many orchestral, chamber, and solo settings. He performs frequently with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Midwest Chamber Ensemble. Sam has served as bassist for Missouri Symphony Society in Columbia, MO, and has frequently subbed for Springfield Symphony in Springfield, MO.

Also a prolific composer and arranger, Sam's music has been performed and recorded by numerous diverse professional and collegiate ensembles. His compositions for big band have been performed or recorded by student and professional jazz ensembles including the KC-based Jim Lower Jazz Orchestra, UMKC Jazz Ensemble, University Of Missouri Concert Jazz Band, Taneycomo Festival Jazz Orchestra, and others. Sam is constantly writing new compositions for Riff Generation and for his own quartet.

A dedicated music educator, Sam teaches all levels from beginning through collegiate. He has served as bass instructor at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, and at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. Sam is director of string orchestras in multiple schools in Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas. Also a frequent clinician, Sam teaches clinics annually at Olathe Bass Workshop, Kansas City Bass Workshop, and other clinics.

Sam holds a Master of Arts in Music degree from University of Missouri–Kansas City, a Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance from University of Missouri–Columbia, and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Pittsburg State University. His primary teachers and mentors include Jeff Kail, James Albright, and Sue Stubbs.