In high demand as both a performer and educator, Justin Bendel has become one of Pittsburgh’s most sought-after bassists. Equally at home as an orchestral member, pit musician, soloist, and teacher, Mr. Bendel maintains an expansive successful studio alongside his full-time career as a professional bassist. As a distinguished orchestral musician, Mr. Bendel is credited with performing with such groups as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and Akron Symphony, to name a few. In 2011, he completed the US East Coast tour with Italian megastar, Patrizio Buanne.
With over 70 musicals to his credit, he is no stranger to the eclectic music of Broadway. He was most recently asked to reprise the role of Brother Jay (bassist) as he was invited to join the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet. Previous engagements as Brother Jay include The Gateway Playhouse (Long Island), Hippodrome Theatre (Gainesville), Dutch Apple Theatre (Lancaster), and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO). Most notably, with the CLO Cabaret, he played 412 performances of Forever Plaid. In early 2020, Justin had the honor of being the requested bassist to perform for rock drummer and founder of The Police, Stewart Copeland, for his commissioned world premiere metal opera “Satan’s Fall.” Over the span of his vast career, he has shared the stage with phenomenal artists ranging from Christopher Parkening, The Moody Blues, Al Jarreau, Michael W. Smith, Jim Brickman, and the legendary Ray Charles to Tom Rocco, Elaine Stritch, and fellow Pittsburgh native Billy Porter. In December of 2021, Justin had the privilege to perform in the orchestra backing international opera superstar Andrea Bocelli at PPG Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.
Also highlighting his versatility, Justin is active as a studio musician, having recently finished a project with guitarist John Maione. In addition to studio recording, he can also be found playing jazz with the likes of RML Jazz, The Jeremy Fisher Trio, and with guitarist Rick Struzzi in venues throughout the Pittsburgh area. With a multi-faceted career that has taken him to the most prestigious concert halls under the direction of world class conductors, Mr. Bendel’s biggest achievement and honor was getting to play New York City’s Carnegie Music Hall in 2013. This accomplishment was recently recognized by Jack Canfield, bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He hand selected Mr. Bendel’s story and it was published in his newest book The Success Principals – 10th Anniversary Edition (HarperCollins). In 2015, he joined the faculty of Seton Hill University. He is currently the professor of Low String Methods as well as the Instructor of Double Bass. In 2017, he joined the faculty of Westminster College as Adjunct Instructor of Double Bass and Electric Bass Guitar.
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