“ . . . superior arrangements
and uncommon musicianship.”


Bridging the Gap is the highly acclaimed American string duo featuring
violinist Peter Wilson and double bassist Aaron Clay.

Bridging the Gap performs the music of Led Zeppelin

Peter Wilson and Aaron ClayBridging the Gap is the highly acclaimed American string duo featuring violinist Peter Wilson and double bassist Aaron Clay. Hailed by The Washington Post for “superior arrangements and uncommon musicianship,” Bridging the Gap offers a unique voice to many musical styles by uniting the sounds of instruments from opposite ends of the string family while performing music of the classical tradition, jazz, big band, folk, film music, popular song, and even funk. Wilson and Clay grew up less than 30 miles apart in West Virginia but met only when their careers coincided in 1994 as members of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. They developed a friendship as colleagues and in 1997 teamed up in visiting local schools to educate students about string instruments and the great potential they have beyond their traditional roles. What began as a musical experiment of sorts quickly evolved into an unlikely duo of bowed and bridged instruments not often heard together, and thus, Bridging the Gap was founded. The exciting arrangements and original compositions produced by the duo cover a wide range of musical genres. In addition, Wilson and Clay have become known for their engaging personalities on stage, incorporating humor and audience participation in their shows. Together they have appeared in venues from school classrooms and private homes to concert halls and stadiums.

Sting plays Aaron Clay's bass at the Kennedy Center Honors reception at The White House

During the Kennedy Center Honors reception in the Diplomatic Reception Room of The White House, the “Wilson-Clay” Marine String Duo paid tribute to various honorees including Sting, who at the insistence of Tom Hanks came forward to play Aaron Clay’s bass while Peter and he look on in amazement (December 7, 2014).

Wilson and Clay seek to take their audiences on a musical journey without stylistic boundaries while expanding listeners’ perspectives of the violin and double bass. They further make an effort to blend their different ethnic and musical backgrounds while presenting programs that are both entertaining and educational. Bridging the Gap continues to be an exciting and popular musical duo in the National Capital Region – in demand at various high-profile events in the homes of members of Congress and the Cabinet as well as at The White House. Their charm, sensitivity, and diverse repertoire have made a lasting impression on audiences of all ages but especially students of public and private schools as well as music camps, where the duo continues to enjoy performing outreach programs as part of their concert schedule. During the national quarantining of 2020, Wilson and Clay performed many online virtual shows for countless students throughout the United States in an effort to enhance the distance learning that was necessary during such a challenging time. Ultimately, Bridging the Gap enjoys connecting with audiences and bringing people together through music.

Aaron Clay's arrangement of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir/Black Dog medley for the kennedy Center honors, signed by the band.A frequent guest of the “Millennium Stage” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bridging the Gap has also appeared on the Jazz Series of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In November 2003, the duo released its critically acclaimed debut album, which is available on iTunes, Spotify, and other music download sites. In 2004, Wilson and Clay were honored by their home state when they received the Music Award by the Arts and Humanities Commission of Fairmont, West Virginia in recognition of their “outstanding leadership and devotion to the enhancement of the arts.” In 2005, they were a featured act during the week of Inauguration as part of the “Salute to Those Who Serve” celebration held at the MCI (now Verizon) Center in Washington, DC, where they received a standing ovation from the over 14,000 military and public safety personnel in attendance. The duo has performed several world premieres of works composed specifically for Bridging the Gap including John Beall’s “Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass and Orchestra,” Donald Womack’s concert work “Blue Ridge Dreams,” Elena Ruehr’s “Groovy Doovy.” In addition, the duo performed Bottesini’s “Gran Duo” with the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra in Lawton, Oklahoma. Barry Green, noted bassist, lecturer, and author of “The Inner Game of Music” reviewed the duo’s CD in the June 2005 issue of the International Society of Bassists magazine, Bass World: “…the artistry and virtuosity of Wilson and Clay go a long way to enriching the soul of the listener!”


“. . . the artistry and virtuosity of Wilson and Clay go a long way to enriching the soul of the listener!”

“. . . [Wilson and Clay] are sensitive passionate performers and equally gifted at creating arrangements that showcase their talents.”

-Barry Green, Bass World

Aaron Clay, double bassist with the duo Bridging the Gap


Aaron Clay distinguishes himself regularly as a uniquely versatile double bassist. He commands great respect as a performer in both the classical and jazz worlds of bass playing, but it was The Washington Post that observed, “What sets [Clay] apart is elegant bowing…. His melodic lines have a cello-like glow and flexibility….”

Aaron grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia and began his musical training at the age of 10 when he taught himself to play jazz on the electric bass. He later pursued classical training on the upright double bass and, upon graduating from Fairmont Senior High School, attended West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he studied with Richard Manspeaker. In 1989, he was selected to join the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC where he served one enlistment and went on to audition successfully for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He currently serves as Section Leader and Principal Bassist with the Marine Band and makes regular appearances at The White House performing in virtually every type of musical ensemble that is tasked, to include the Marine Orchestra, string ensembles, and jazz/pop combos. He also travels frequently with the Marine Band throughout the United States and abroad.

In addition to writing works for violin and double bass duo, Aaron has developed a reputation as a fine composer of works for various ensembles from classical and jazz trios and quartets to those for string orchestra and full concert band. An invitation by the director of the Marine Band to write a work for wind ensemble led to Mr. Clay’s composition “e-volution,” which was premiered by the Marine Band in 2002. His next work, also premiered by the Marine Band, was entitled “Serial Number.”

Aaron is also Principal Bassist of the Fairfax Symphony and Alexandria Symphony Orchestras in Northern Virginia, and he performed in such jazz and pop groups as The Kenny Rittenhouse Quartet, The Peter Fraize Quartet, and First Light. Aaron is always in great demand as a freelance musician and has appeared with such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin and Joe Williams. He is also active as a soloist, and following a performance with the Lawton Philharmonic, the Lawton Constitution raved “Clay’s graceful performance was thrilling to watch; his execution of the difficult piece resembled the elegant technique of a seasoned cellist.”

Aaron resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife Cindy Crumb.

Bridging the Gap, violin and double bass duo
Bridging the Gap, violin and double bass duo
Bridging the Gap, violin and double bass duo
Bridging the Gap, violin and double bass duo
Bridging the Gap, violin and double bass duo

Bridging the Gap’s debut album is available on these fine music streaming services

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Bridging the Gap album cover
PREVIEW: Listen to a Bridging the Gap track now on YouTube

Bridging the Gap primary photography ©2015 by Pat Jarrett Photography, Staunton, Virginia.