February 14, 2012

RPO Bassists Lead Master Class in Ithaca

Before the RPO's performance in Ithaca last weekend, RPO Bassists Gaelen McCormick and Colin Corner (The Anne Hayden McQuay Chair) made a special visit to Ithaca College. The pair was invited by Ithaca College Professor of Bass Nicholas Walker to teach a master class to Walker’s bass studio. They also performed a set of duets for the students.

Remarked Walker: “This was a particularly rewarding day for our double bass students who had the opportunity to spend over two hours with Gaelen McCormick and Colin Corner. How generous of these musicians to drive down early through a snow storm to perform duets for our students, and then give them terrific coaching about their own playing and learning approaches. My students and I were so engaged by their elegant chamber music, and the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring to their art.”
RPO bassist Gaelen McCormick (left) joined us to share her thoughts on the master class; read below for her first-hand account:
"I was so delighted to be contacted by the bass professor at Ithaca College, Dr. Nicholas Walker, asking if any of us in the bass section would like to work with his students on the day the RPO was in Ithaca. Colin Corner (pictured right) and I both said yes to this opportunity. We began the class by performing Dave Anderson's "Seven Duets." Colin used to play in New Orleans where Dave is principal, and had all kinds of (hilarious) background stories to share with the class about the music and the composer.

Then we listened to four of the students play music ranging from American fiddle tunes which a student had arranged for himself as a solo work, a contemporary work written only a few months ago where the student played with great extended techniques and even sang during the solo, to works of Bach. The students were such a great group! They all had a great positive approach to playing, and were very supportive of each other. I was also impressed by their willingness to try new ideas on the spot. I led the class in a Dalcroze Eurythmics exercise where we walked and sang around the classroom. Everyone jumped right in to try this without reservation. After class, the students stayed on to ask Colin about his gorgeous Hill bass, which he recently bought, and to take turns playing a bit on it.

We were delighted to work with such creative and outgoing musicians!"

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