The American lutenist, Howard Bass, studied guitar and violin in Cleveland, Ohio. He continued guitar study with John Marlow at the American University in Washington, D.C., and with John Thomas in Alicante, Spain.
Howard Bass played for the King and Queen of Spain at the Smithsonian Institute in 1976 and at the White House in 1978. He has performed throughout the USA as a soloist and has been a guest accompanist with vocal and instrumental ensembles throughout the Washington area and beyond, such as the Santa Fe Opera, the Opera Society of Washington, the National, Chicago and Houston Ballet companies, the Washington Bach Consort, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Paul Hill Chorale, and Capriole, among others. He is a founding member of La Rondinella, which has made two highly acclaimed recordings for the Dorian Discovery label. He has also performed and recorded with many of the finest early music ensembles, such as the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Hesperus, the Folger Consort, the Baltimore Consort, Ensemble Galilei, the New England Viol Consort, the Vocal Arts Quartet, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington. He has appeared in recitals at the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, the Gardner Museum, and at colleges and universities around the USA. In recent years he has worked extensively as an accompanist with Sephardic singer/composer Flory Jagoda and early music singer Barbara Hollinshead. The Washington Post calls his accompaniments "… sprightly and elegantly supportive" and his tone, "unfailingly lovely."
Howard Bass works at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where he produces concerts, festivals, and recordings of traditional American music. He is manager of the Cultural Arts unit in the Public Programs Department at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. He has produced several recordings of traditional music for the Smithsonian Folkways label, and also produced the recently released Dorian CD "Greysteil", a recording of Scottish early music.