US bassist to recall Shanghai's past with concert

By Zhang Kun ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-12-14 07:30:03

US bassist to recall Shanghai's past with concert

Double bass masters Gary Karr (left) and Lu Yuanxiong will stage a concert, titled The Bass Hero, in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Gary Karr is fascinated with Chinese culture, especially the traditional gardens, though the double bass master has never played on the mainland.

Together with, and at the invitation of, fellow bassist Lu Yuanxiong from Texas Christian University, Karr will present the concert, The Bass Hero, in Shanghai on Dec 20.

The program, which includes works by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Serge Koussevitzky and Camille Saint-Saens, will feature the sound quality of the double bass, which is among the world's largest string instruments.

The American musician was active on the global scene for 40 years before retiring in 2001.

As a soloist, Karr, 73, played with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and others. He has taught at Juilliard School and New England Conservatory, among other renowned music schools, and has published books on the double bass.

In 1962 he played as a soloist in the New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert, conducted by Leonard Bernstein and televised across the United States. He is known as one of the best bassists since the 20th century and one of the first in the world to be a full-time soloist.

It was since Karr that the double bass became recognized as a solo instrument, Lu says.

Lu was born in Shanghai, and is the first Chinese double bassist to win awards at international competitions. Lu says Karr pushed the double bass to new boundaries by developing playing techniques and the instrument itself.

Karr founded the International Society of Bassists in 1967 as a venue to promote the instrument. He has worked through the organization, together with musicians from many countries, to raise the standard of the double bass and make it more user-friendly.

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