Dean Ferrell studied at the Juilliard School of Music with David Walter, and also independently with Bertram Turetzky and Bjørn Ianke.
Bertram Turetzky inspired Ferrell in constantly seeking non-traditional possibilities on the double bass. Ferrell was a guest lecturer at The University of California in 1981–1982, and has played with The Hong Kong Philharmonic, The San Diego Symphony, The Pacific Symphony, The San José Symphony, The Norwegian Opera Orchestra and currently with The Icelandic Opera and The Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
Ferrell is an expert in historical tunings and various scordaturae. Normally he plays on gut strings, and performs on classical and baroque violone, baroque violoncello, basso di viola, and violon¬cello piccolo.