October 30, 2015

From the Stage: RPO Principal Bass Colin Corner

Colin Corner
credit Roger Mastroianni
RPO Principal Bassist Colin Corner shares an interesting story about the historical bass on which he will play Koussevitzky's Bass Concerto on Sunday, November 8, which is also Ward Stare’s conducting debut on the Sunday Matinee series. Corner returns to Rochester for this special performance; he was recently named principal bass of the Atlanta Symphony and has been playing with the ASO since September 2015.

Colin Corner, bass
The Anne Hayden McQuay Chair

"I am thrilled to be coming back to Rochester to play Serge Koussevitzky's Bass Concerto. This is a piece I have had a long history with. I've been playing it off and on for auditions and such since high school, so I know it very well. But the bass I will be playing it on has an even longer history with the piece: it once belonged to Koussevitzky, from 1901 until his death in 1951. [Koussevitzky is probably best known as the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949.] According to his wife, he used to practice on it every day. She then gave the bass to Gary Karr, legendary bass soloist and founder of the International Society of Bassists. Mr. Karr, in an act of amazing generosity, then gave the bass to the ISB after playing on it for over 40 years. The instrument was once thought to be an Amati made in 1611, but further research found it to be a bass of French origin, c. 1800. Nevertheless it is an incredible bass, and now bassists and audiences for generations to come can hear the splendor of tone that is in it. Recordings of Koussevitzky and Karr playing the Concerto on that bass will reveal that the bass has the same sound that can be heard on those recordings- rich, warm and singing. It is a small bass, and is incredibly easy to play. As for the concerto, the piece was written in late romantic bel canto Russian style, with soaring, lyrical melodies reminiscent of Tchaikovsky. I look forward to joining the RPO and Maestro Ward Stare on November 8th, and cannot wait to share the stage again with my colleagues. Hope to see you there!"

If you go

Stare conducts Sunday Matinee 2
Sunday, November 8 at 2 PM
Hochstein Performance Hall
Tickets are $25, full time students $10 with valid ID
Visit rpo.org for more details

Hear composer Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951) perform the second movement of his Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra in F-sharp Minor, Op. 3.

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