We have had the opportunity to feature some of the world’s best solo double bass talent on the podcast as well. Here are a few fan favorites–remember, we have many more in our Contrabass Conversations archives:
Since his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1962, Karr has performed as soloist on six continents with orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Simon Bolivar Orchestra (Caracas, Venezuela), Jerusalem Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and with all the major orchestras of Australia.
The importance of François Rabbath to the development of double bass playing can be compared with that of Paganini to the violin. Since the early 1800s when Nicole Paganini established the violin as a virtuoso instrument, solo violinists have practiced the most brilliant of instrumental art. Meanwhile, the development of double bass playing had been seriously neglected. The great and popular 19th century composers did not consider the bass worth their attention and in turn the bass repertoire did not attract potential virtuoso performers with enough genius to change the situation. It demanded an artist with the unique qualities of François Rabbath to break this impasse.
Zhang was the first double bassist ever to win First Prize in the 2003 WAMSO (Women’s Auxiliary of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra) competition. In 2001, Zhang was the youngest artist ever to win the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He has also received the Grand Prize of the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.
An active composer, Dr. Donovan Stokes is a specialist in the use of amplified and electronically manipulated double bass and has received recent commissions from the Young Bassist’s Division of the International Society of Bassists, Musical Arts Society of Chicago and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. His recent Titanium Jr. for intermediate level bass and string orchestra was premiered in May of 2007 in Chicago, Il. His most recent concert work Caoineadh Mhná na Neachtlanna Mhaigdiléana (Lament for the Women of the Magdalene Laundries) for Solo Double Bass and Orchestra was premiered in October 2006 by the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra with the composer as soloist.