bassclef heartAs we get closer to ISB’s 50th year anniversary, we are jumping back in time through monthly instalments of each decade of the ISB. All leading to this year’s Convention in Ithaca, June 5-10, 2017!  In this instalment we’re taking a dip into 1997-2007.  It’s go time!
A lot of events occurred between 1997 and 2007:
The ISB held conventions:
Year Location Convention Chair(s) Attendance
1999 University of Iowa (Iowa City) Diana Gannett just under 800
2001 Butler University (Indianapolis, IN) David Murray just over 800; 27 countries represented
2003 University of Richmond (VA) Barre Phillips & Paul Pierce nearly 900; 28 countries represented
2005 University of Western Michigan (Kalamazoo) Tom Knific nearly 1,000
2007 Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University (OK) Hans Sturm & John Schimek surpassed 1,000
There were many firsts:
  • Joëlle Morton became editor of the ISB’s membership magazine, Bass World, in 1999.
  • The ISB launched its website, www.ISBworldoffice.com in 2000.
  • The ISB held the first-ever ISB Maker’s Competition at the 2003 convention, with sixteen new instruments and ten bows that entered.
  • On April 1, 2006, Joel Quarrington and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of John Harbison’s Concerto for Bass Viol, commissioned by the family and friends of ISB member Hunter Capoccioni and a consortium of orchestras in memory of his father, David Capoccioni. Tim Pitts and the Houston Symphony gave the U.S. premiere on May 5, 2006. There were 14 more performances of the concerto over the next 26-month period.
Moments worth honoring & recognizing:
  • During the 2001 convention, there was a farewell to the concert stage recital by Gary Karr. The ISB honored him with “The Gary Karr Rose,” a yellow hybrid named for the ISB’s founder. This convention set the attendance record to date with just over 800 attendees from 27 countries.
  • The family of legendary jazz bassist Scott LaFaro endowed the $2,500 first prize in the ISB’s biennial jazz competition. Scott’s sister, Helene LaFaro Fernandez, spoke at the 2001 convention concert honoring “The Bassists of Bill Evans.”
  • Gary Karr transferred holdings of the Karr Doublebass Foundation to the ISB.  This helped the ISB establish a new endowment fund with a goal to insure the future of the organization and its work.
  • In 2004, Gary Karr gifted the ISB with his famed double bass, previously owned by Serge Koussevitzky and given to Gary by Koussevitzky’s widow, Olga Koussevitzky in 1961.
Even at the office:
  • The ISB launched a new website, The Online Journal of Bass Research, www.OJBR.com, a referred electronic journal.
  • Bass World editor Joëlle Morton, passed the baton to new editor Andi Beckendorf.

Bass players do the darndest things!

Here are a few photos of bass players dressed in stellar costumes.

Jeremy Kurtz

“‘Nothing personal,’ says 1997 ISB solo competition winner Jeremy Kurtz, as he takes aim.  ‘I wanted to be in the school string program like my older brother, but the high-pitched screeches on his violin hurt my ears, so I played bass instead.’ Jeremy, a National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellow in high school, is now a senior at the Curtis Institute of Music where he studies with Philadelphia Orchestra principal bassist Hal Robinson.  He has given recitals in the U.S. and Canada, and is a member of the Haddonfield, New Jersey, Symphony.  Jeremy regularly performs everything form classical to jazz and bluegrass in the Philadelphia area, and looks forward to a future playing all kinds of music with great people.  As long as they don’t screech that is…” (ISB Calendar, March 1999).

Irena Olkiewicz

“Growing up in a music-loving family, Irena Olkiewicz was inspired by her mother, Aniela, who sang soprano in a choir.  Irena started studying the piano when she was 7 years old.  When she was 13, she started ‘cello, then took up the double bass at age 16.  At the same time, Irena loved singing popular music and was a three-time winner of a local contest.  She received her master’s degree from the Academy of Music in Wroclaw, Poland, studying with e Eduard Krysta.  She began teaching double bass classes there in in 1980, and is the only female bassist in the Polish music higher education system.  Irena is the former principal of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Cairo Symphony Orchestra.  She presents solo and chamber music performances at home and abroad, and has conducted masterclasses at the Guildhall School of Music in London, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Cairo Conservatoire de Musique and the Bass Week in Michaelstein, among others.  Her new CD for Saint Paul Edition includes world premiere recordings of works by Polish  composers Benedykt Konowalski and Stefan Poradowski.  She has served as president  of the Polish Double Bass Society since 1994 and is editor of its magazine, KontraBasista.  She has organized international double bass masterclasses held at the Wojnowice Castle in Poland, inviting guest faculty members Gary Karr, David Walter, Francois Rabbath, Tom Martin, Klaus Trumpf, Milos Gajdos, and Gottfried Engels, Irena’s husband, Grzegorz, is a well-known flutist and conductor in Poland.” (ISB Calendar, April 2003)

Michael Greenberg

“Born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1967, Michael Greenberg is a period-instrument specialist in Paris, France, where he performs regularly with Les Arts Floissants, La Grande Ecurie & La Chambre du Roy, and Le Concert Spirituel.  His articles on the history of the double bass have appeared in Bass World and the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, and he is currently preparing a doctoral dissertation on the double bass at the Sorbonne in Paris, from its origins to the present.  Rest assured that his quest for authenticity does not extend to playing in period clothing.  Like Samson, Michael’s strength is his hair, considered ideal by casting agents for Napoleonic, Restoration, and 1970s era films.  He has appeared as an extra, with and without his instrument in several motion pictures.  He teaches modern double bass at the conservatory of Villepinte, France.” (ISB Calendar, July 2003)

Bass Section Group Shots!!

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

L-R: Larry Hutchinson, Linton Bodwin, Max Janowsky, Craig Rifel, Steve Edwards, Rick Robinson, Stephen Molina and Bob Gladstone (BassWorld, Vol. 25, No. 2, Summer 2001).

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

 

In alphabetical order:  Nami Akamatsu, Stewart  Evan Arfman (Principal), Bud Boerner, L. Bennett Crantford, Greg Dugan, Robert Goodlett (Assistant Principal), Peter Hansen, Michael Hartt (BassWorld, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2001).

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

 

“The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is from a period performance of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold directed by Sir Simon Rattle, performed at the London Proms and televised live from the Baden-Baden Festival in August 2003.  L-R: Edicson Ruiz, Elizabeth Bradley, John Tattersdill, Andrew Durban, Christine Stickler, Sir Simon Rattle, Chi Chi Nwanoku, Paul Sherman, and Rob Nairn (Absent: Cecelia Bruggenmeyer).” (Bass World, Volume 28, No. 3, Spring 2005).

Body & Bass:  Healthy Bass Posture

Look at that comfortably aligned back!

Sandor Ostlund demonstrated healthy bass playing posture with a smile!

Arms out: Time to play!
 
(Bass World, Volume 23, Issue 3, Winter 2000, p. 6)

Girl Power!

There is always room for more female bass players!

Linda McKnight

“Linda McKnight is on the double bass faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where shehas taught since 1979.  She performs in orchestras and chamber groups throughout the New York metropolitan area, and presents bass workshops, masterclasses and clinics.  Linda appears frequently as a competition and festival adjudicator, and her articles have been published in String Tones, Tempo, American String Teacher and International Society of Bassists magazines.  She edited Pieces for Friends, a collection for bass and piano by noted composer Paul Ramsier, and has received a number of awards for her contributions to double bass and music education.  Her husband, Jay VandeKopple, is also a bassist, so they can make some beautiful music together!” (ISB Calendar, March 1998).

Nancy Bjork

“Even after twenty-five years of teaching, a playful student can still bring a grin to the face of Nancy Bjork.  When she is not playing or teaching young bassists in the spacious, sun-filled studio attached to her family’s home, she is a busy freelancer in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area.  Nancy performs as principal bass with both the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.  Dedicated to raising the standards not only of student playing but also of bass teaching, she has organized more than a dozen workshops with master bassists.” (ISB Calendar, September 1998)

Virginia Dixon: Pioneer of Suzuki Bass

“Virginia Dixon’s fondest wish is to see players as young as six years old – or perhaps even three or four! – playing the bass as easily as they can walk or talk… Upon hearing the Boston Symphony at age 14, Virginia declared that she wanted to play the bass. This sh has done, and with a profound passion for low, deep sound, ever since.  Her performing career has taken her to three corners of the earth – Europe, Japan, and the United States in symphonic, chamber and solo settings… In addition to playing, Virginia is very active as an arts administrator and teacher, although it is primarily teaching that absorbs her now.  Virginia has become deeply involved with the Suzuki Association of the Americas as part of the Bass Committee, which is creating a new literature for very young bassists.  Her three-y-old students play on 1/2-size cellos (tuned as basses) outfitted with the softest gauge flat wound electric bass strings and 1/2-size cello bow… Virginia is on the faculty of the Suzuki School of Elgin, the Music Institute of Chicago, as well as Wheaton and Elmhurst Colleges, where she teaches undergraduates.” (Bass World, Volume 27, Issue 1, Summer 2003)

Bassiona Amorosa: An International Girl Group Sensation!

“Our hats off to Bassiona Amorosa, whos members are (left to right) Helena Mezej of Croatia, Tae-Bun Park of South Korea, Zsuzsanna Juhasz of Hungary, and Sandra Cvitkavoc of Serbia.  The group owes its name not only to Bottesini’s virtuoso showpiece Passione Amorosa, but also to the charming and lighthearted performing style of these young women.  In 1996, the four aspiring performers from Klaus Trumpf’s international masterclass at the Munich Höchschule für Musik first joined forces for a tongue-in-cheek recital.  They’ve stayed together since that first appearance, and have gone on to entertain audiences with eclectic programs that range from Renaissance and Baroque works to adaptations of classical and lighter music.  Klaus Trumpf remains as their director.  His arrangements for Bassiona Amorosa are published by Friedrich Hofmeister, and the group has also released two CDs to great critical acclaim” (ISB Calendar, February 2000)

Bassists writing for Bassists

Here are some notable bass composers who helped expand the repertoire of our great instrument!

David Anderson

“Bassist and composer David Anderson was recently appointed principal bass of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans.  there , a busy  David gathers no moss! He has performed and recorded regularly with the Atlanta Symphony and Louisville Orchestra.  An award-winning  composer, David has published a number of double bass works.  His concerto, debuted by the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal bassists Hal Robinson at the 1997 ISB convention in Houston, will be performed by Hal during the Philadelphia’s 1997-98 season.  David serves as the professional composer representative on the ISB board of directors.” (ISB Calendar, May 1998)

Peter Askim

“Bassist, composer and conductor Peter Askim is a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and on the faculty of the University of Hawaii – Manoa, where he directs the Contemporary Music Ensemble.  Peter has been honored by Meet the Composer and ASCAP and received commissions from the Yale Symphony Orchestra and the Honolulu Symphony.  His works have been performed at the Aspen, Bowdoin, Music at the Anthology, June in Buffalo, and Bang On a Can festivals, and have been broadcast on Hawaii Public Radio.  Peter was proud that his Vital Signs for solo bass was included in Family Album 2, published by Liben Music.  As the winner of the solo bass division of the 2002 ISB Composition Competition, he will give the world premiere of Solitudes for bass and piano at the 2003 ISB Convention.  Peter has served as music director of the Branford Chamber Orchestra and is a frequent guest conductor.  He recently led the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra in works by University of Hawaii composers.  On the flip side of his work as a classical musician, he also received critical praise as a jazz artist in such publications as Jazztimes, the New York Post and New York Newsday.  His major teachers include Ludwig Streicher, Donald Palma, Diana Gannett and George Rubino.”  (ISB Calendar, May 2003)

“Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

… or as Jean Auray might have said, “Ce-ce-ce-ce sont tous des amis”.
“Jean Auray has made basses for, among others, Charlie Haden, Barre Phillips, Renaud Garcia-Fons, and Diana Gannett.  He received the ISB’s special recognition award for lutherie at the 2001 ISB convention.” (ISB Calendar, December 2002)

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