We hope that you all enjoyed the second half of our interview with double bass luthier Barrie Kolstein this past weekend. If you missed it, you can check it out on Barrie’s Contrabass Conversations page. You can download the episode, play it while you’re surfing online (click ‘play in popup’ and keep browsing online while you listen), or subscribe for free to the podcast (click here if you use iTunes and here for e-mail and other subscription methods).
We have also chatted with luthier Chris Threlkeld-Wiegand for the podcast earlier in March. Chris makes beautiful basses and extensions and does repair work from his shop in Iowa City. Check Chris out online at www.heartlandsbs.com. We also did an episode with Chicago-based luthier and retailer Steve Reinfranck for the podcast. Steve and I discussed the Chinese instrument market, Steve’s organization of a Gary Karr benefit concert a few years ago, and his private teaching studio.
I also interviewed double bassist Robert Meyer for Contrabass Conversations last week. Robert has had a long and illustrious career on the double bass, working for over 50 years in most of the major orchestras in London (including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, and BBC Symphony), as Principal Bass of the Vancouver Symphony, and has taught at the Universities of British Columbia and Victoria. He has also worked under conductors such as Furtwangler, de Sabata, von Karajan, Klemperer, Giulini, Bruno Walter, Koussevitsky, Stokowski, Rhozdesdensvky, Stravinsky, and Khatchaturian, and he was close friends with Benjamin Britten, having actually premiered several of Britten’s chamber operas. When Britten wrote works like Albert Herring, he had Robert in mind as his double bass musical model!
We’ll be releasing this interview in the next couple of weeks. It was a real pleasure to chat with Robert! Robert also maintains a blog called Musical Reminiscences that is filled with great stories from his career, advice for double bassists, and much more. Check it out–it’s a great read and full of fascinating material.
Robert has also recorded several videos relating stories, experiences, and observations. You can find many of them on YouTube (here’s a good page of them) or on his blog. In the following video, Robert discusses what separates the truly great conductors (and he’s worked with a lot of them!) from the rest of the herd:
Co-host John Grillo and I also did a great interview with Michigan State University bass professor Jack Budrow last Friday. Jack has been a significant presence of the double bass scene for decades, having taught at Interlochen for the past 30 years, at Michigan State for the last 12 years, and having been Principal Bass of the North Carolina Symphony and a former member of the Houston Symphony and Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Jack is a warm, funny, and articulate individual, and his love of the bass and of teaching shines through in everything he says. Folks will really enjoy this interview with Jack! We’ll release the first part of this interview on April 5, so stay tuned for it.
These conversations with double bass teachers, performers, and luthiers are an invaluable way to learn more about the instrument and our business, and they are a great way to get to know these influential figures better. Students and teachers out there will really enjoy hearing Jack’s thoughts and perspectives on music education, double bass teaching methods, setup and maintenance issues, methods of holding the instrument, surviving long rehearsals and performances, and much more.
We’ll also be releasing the first episode of Eclectic Bass his week. This new offering from Contrabass Conversations highlights music from double bassists worldwide, and will prove to be a nice 20-30 minute complement to our interview episodes. We’ve got a huge wealth of double bass music in the Contrabass Conversations archives, and this new show provides a great way to highlight the vibrant contributions from the double bass community. This first episode will feature music from Frederick Charlton, Lila Horovitz, and Bill Koehler, and we’ll be releasing it mid-week, so stay tuned, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast (click here if you use iTunes and here for e-mail and other subscription methods) so that you don’t miss this new feature!