The Bottom Line Duo is one of three internationally touring bass and cello duos in history. As 21st century artists who are not terribly distant from their youth, they are providing a much needed shot in the arm to classical music by presenting a program that is rich in sonority, flesh and blood, steel and wood and horse hair. In other words, a program that Generation X can take their parents and their children too.
Through strict discipline combined with a stage presence of joy and humor, the duo presents an evening of music from the Baroque period to today. A subplot of their romance, as well as their competitiveness, permeates the program along with bizarre musicological references - a hilarious ukulele piece and a final battle over "The Flight of the Bumblebee."
The Bottom Line Duo received its name in 1992 when presented in concert by the "Ladies Music Club" of Bellingham, Washington. The presenters took the liberty of posting a sign with the name. It stuck. The Bottom Line Duo is a unique ensemble of bass and cello deriving its literature through adaptations of famous works, new works, and existing works. The performance is presented in a chamber music fashion with anecdotes, virtuosity, and refined comedy. The duo began touring in 1996 and by 1998 was part of a group representing the Los Angeles Music Center, L.A. Philharmonic specifically, on a fundraising tour aboard the RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 from South Hampton, England to New York, New York. The duo has enjoyed performing in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and in many communities with equally great halls and audiences.
Although their eyes met on that first day of school and again on the second, it wasn’t until the third day that fate closed the deal. Traci carried her orchestra music folder. Spencer, who at the time played the cello, recognized the folder and immediately seized the opportunity to say "hello." Lacking the social skills of an advanced suave ladies man combined with the introverted characteristics of his Norwegian heritage he purged forth the question, “What instrument do you play?” Traci, whom although she recognized rugged handsomeness, good looks, and potential, was yet unaware that a young suitor possessing the aforementioned would, or possibly could, possess the concentration and cognitive ability to not only know instruments existed, but beyond that, that they also had names.
As bewildered and shocked as she was in her ponderings she shyly expressed that her instrument was like a big violin that you sit to play and, she added generously, that it had a name, and that name was the cello. As Spencer confidently asserted that he too played the cello and queried as to why he hadn’t seen Traci in class yet. Traci let it be known that she was in the advanced class with upperclassmen and, in her advanced capacity, was unlikely to have been in the same class as he.
From this foundation in 1985 the two of them, confused yet inspired, set out to figure out what to do with each other. The Bottom Line Duo is the manifestation of this ongoing attempt to understand, explore, and enjoy this confused and inspired state of being.
Traci Hoveskeland - first laid hands on the cello when she entered the Port Angeles public schools' music program at ten-years-old. She quickly attracted the attention of many gifted educators only to leave Port Angeles, via scholarship, to attend Western Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music.
Traci first studied with Walter Gray, a founding member of the Kronos string quartet and with Barton Frank, a Piatigorsky prodigy, international soloist, and one time principal cellist of the National Symphony. Barton became one of Traci’s greatest influences. Traci continues to perform numerous Broadway musicals as principal cellist in the Paramount Theater and the 5th Avenue theaters in Seattle and has backed Tony Curtis, Richard Chamberlain, and Patty Lapone in the process. Her reputation as a chamber musician has mandated performances across the USA, Europe, and Mexico. As a recording artist she appears in genres from rock to classical with Grammy Award-winning artists. She also was the cellist with the critically acclaimed Tangoheart and the all-female, new music ensemble Sorrelle. Traci has recorded six albums with the Bottom Line Duo.
Hoveskeland - first laid hands, not on the
bass but, on the cello when he entered the Port
Angeles public schools music program at ten-years-old. He also played guitar in local pop
groups and bass in the school jazz band.
Spencer followed Traci, closely, to college where he studied music with Chuck Israels, Barton Frank, Peter Marsh, Walter Gray, and continued after college focusing on music engraving and performance with Art Bloom, founding clarinetist of the Dorian Wind Quintet. Spencer has performed for numerous Broadway musicals as bassist in Seattle’s theaters. Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel, Cinderella with Ertha Kitt, and Chicago with Tom Wopat were memorable. As an orchestral player he was principal bass of the Whatcom Symphony for six years, played for the Bolshoi Ballet when in Seattle, and appears as a session musician on the soundtracks of “About Schmidt,” “Woolly Boys,” “Man on Fire,” “Blade the Trinity” and others. With an electric bass he occasionally accompanies the screaming guitars of famous rock stars. With a pencil he creates lush string and orchestral arrangements for whoever needs them.
Spencer helped produce the Cebreros Festival of Strings in Cebreros, Spain and has served on the board for the Seattle Musicians Union, the Montana Performing Arts Consortium, and Arts Northwest.
Both Spencer and Traci take advantage of the rich diversity of performing opportunities in North America. They specialize in chamber music and use that discipline and attention for detail to honor the music of other styles. From Broadway, Argentine Tango, Mexican Folk, Klezmer, rock, or country music, their rich backgrounds keep them employable throughout the economic ups and downs.