Edgar Meyer: Master of the Double Bass opens the Chamber Concert Season on Oct. 12
In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by the New Yorker as “…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument”, Meyer’s unparalleled technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the fore, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002.
As a solo classical bassist, Meyer has released a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra featuring Bottesini’s Gran Duo with Joshua Bell, Meyer’s Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma, Bottesini’s Bass Concerto No. 2, and Meyer’s Concerto in D for Bass. Just prior to that, he released an album of three of Bach’s Unaccompanied Suites for Cello. In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and played all of the pieces, incorporating instruments including piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of “The Best of Edgar Meyer”.2011 will see the release of a new Sony Masterworks recording on which Meyer will join Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan.
As a composer, Meyer has carved out a remarkable and unique niche in the musical world. In the 2011-12 season, he is composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony and will premiere his third concerto for double bass. The fall of 2009 saw the release of The Melody of Rhythm, a collection of trio pieces co-composed with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain; the album also featured their triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla, which was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, and was recorded in January 2009 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin. During the 2005-2006 season, Meyer premiered the revised version of his Double Bass Concerto No. 2 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was commissioned to write a piece for violin and piano to be performed by Joshua Bell at the Montalvo Arts Center and New York’s Lincoln Center. Meyer premiered his Double Bass Concerto No. 1 in 1993 with Edo de Waart and the Minnesota Orchestra.
Collaborations are a central part of Meyer’s work. He has performed and recorded Chris Thile, Béla Fleck, Joshua Bell, Sam Bush, Mike Marshall and Yo-Yo Ma. He teamed with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor to record Appalachia Waltz, which was released in 1996, soared to the top of the charts and remained there for 16 weeks. The trio was featured both on the David Letterman Show and the televised 1997 Inaugural Gala. Meyer joined with Ma and O’Connor for a second album, Appalachian Journey, a follow-up to Appalachia Waltz.
Meyer began studying bass at the age of five under the instruction of his father and continued further to study with Stuart Sankey. In 1994 he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000 became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize. Currently, he is Visiting Professor of Double Bass at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet featured in Chamber Concert on Nov. 16
Thirty years young in 2010-11, the Grammy Award-winning LAGQ is one of the most multifaceted groups in any genre. The LAGQ is comprised of four uniquely accomplished musicians bringing a new energy to the concert stage with programs ranging from Bluegrass to Bach. They consistently play to sold-out houses world-wide. Their inventive, critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground. Programs including Latin, African, Far East, Irish, Folk and American Classics transport listeners around the world in a single concert experience. Their Don Quixote collaboration with Firesign Theater veteran, actor Philip Proctor, continues to expand and delight audiences.
Winner of a 2005 Grammy Award, their Guitar Heros CD released on Telarc is a brilliant follow-up to their Grammy nominated disc LAGQ Latin Spin (Telarc, Spring 2006) continues their explorations of jazz and contemporary music. LAGQ Brazil(2007), including collaborations with vocalist Luciana Souza, was released to rave reviews, and their newest recording of the Rodrigo's Concierto Andaluz and Sergio Assad’s Interchange, written specifically for them, was released on Telarc in Spring 2010, and quickly climbed to top spot on the Billboard charts.
Originally from Minneapolis, John Dearman is a versatile guitarist whose repertoire ranges from samba to bluegrass, and from flamenco to classical. He enriches the sound of the LAGQ by performing on a unique seven-string guitar with extended upper and lower registers. John is currently director of the Guitar Chamber Music program at Califronia State University, Northridge, in Los Angeles.
Matthew Greif is the newest member of the Quartet. In addition to being a classical guitarist, he has an extensive background playing in other styles, such as jazz, rock, flamenco, and bluegrass. Matthew's recordings include Permanent Transition, which features duo improvisations with Andrew York and Dusan Bogdanovic. Matthew was named Outstanding Graduate of the U.S.C. guitar department, where he studied with William Kanengiser, James Smith, and Scott Tennant. He also studied jazz with Joe Diorio and Frank Potenza. Matthew currently teaches classical and jazz guitar at Cal State University, Dominquez Hills, in the Los Angeles area.
Acclaimed soloist, recording artist and professor at the USC Thornton School of Music, William Kanengiser is one of the few guitarists to have won the Concert Artists Guild New York Competition. His solo recordings on the GSP label display his unique approach to programming, ranging from the music of the Old World to the Caribbean to his latest disc Classical Cool, an exploration of jazz currents for classical guitar. He has earned critical acclaim for his imaginative arrangements for solo guitar and guitar quartet, and for producing two instructional videos for Hot Licks. Kanengiser may be best known as the classical guitarist in the 1986 film Crossroads.
Celebrated as a world-class performer, author and teacher, Detroit-born Scott Tennant has been concertizing since the age of twelve. Much in demand as a solo artist, Scott has recorded for Delos International and is currently completing a recording project of the complete solo guitar works of Joaquin Rodrigo for GHA, Belgium. He is the author of the best-selling book and video Pumping Nylon, a technical handbook for the classical guitarist, and the five-part series Scott Tennant's Basic Classical Guitar Method. He has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is now on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music.