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March 8, 2011 > Old World, New World - two centuries of the double bass

Old World, New World - two centuries of the double bass

Story and photo by Janet Grant

The double bass is an instrument that seldom gets much respect. However, all that is about to change as Music at the Mission presents its second performance of the season showcasing this enigmatic giant of the orchestra. On Saturday, March 12, Fremont's premier chamber series presents, "Old World, New World." Designed to illustrate the versatility of the double bass, an instrument frequently overlooked as suitable for chamber music, this concert features a variety of music utilizing the double bass, from nineteenth century European works to pieces created by living composers.

With a bold program of exploration, "Old World, New World" represents a journey through two centuries of music. The program consists of "Duetto for Cello and Bass," by Gioachino Rossini; "Capriccio di Bravura," by Giovanni Bottesini; "Funf Stucke im Volkston," by Robert Schumann; "Four Timbre Pieces for Cello and Bass," by Donald Erb; "Duo for Xylophone and Double Bass," by William J. Sydeman, and "Digital" for Bass, Percussion and Electronics, by Franck Bedrossian.

The "Old" is aptly represented by Schumann, probably one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era and Italian composer and double bass virtuoso, Bottesini, who has transformed the way the world sees this diverse and versatile instrument through his works for double bass solo repertoire. Rounding out the program is Rossini's Duetto for Cello, one of the most curious pieces of chamber music history. Commissioned for a soiree, this piece is a duet between two very unlikely instruments, the cello and the double base.

The "New" is a series of pieces represented by contemporary American composers. Erb was one of America's most illustrious and controversial 20th century composers. He explored fresh sonorities and forged new paths in more than 100 boldly imaginative works. Sydeman is one of America's most prolific and inventive composers, producing an output whose scope and variety are unique. His work is a prominent part of late 20th century American music, widely published and frequently performed.

In addition, a noteworthy part of Saturday's program is "Digital," a piece for bass, percussion and electronics written by University of California Berkeley composition faculty member Franck Bedrossian. Premiered in 2003, "Digital" plays off its dual meaning, evoking thoughts of modern electronics and also referring to digits-such as fingers-and blurs the lines between acoustic and electronic sounds; a perfect blending of the old and the new.

Saturday's concert features Music at the Mission Founding Director Aileen Chanco on piano. Ms. Chanco has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, and the Philippines, with illustrious orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Pops, Lima Symphony Orchestra, the Banff Festival Orchestra, and the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

Bill Everett will be performing on double bass. Mr. Everett currently serves as Principal Bassist of Symphony Silicon Valley and has served as Principal Bassist of the San Jose Symphony. He spent three years as an acting member of the San Francisco Symphony and appears with numerous other orchestras in the Bay Area. He presently serves as Co-Artistic Director of Music at the Mission and is a founding member of the San Francisco based new music group, the Adorno Ensemble.

Michael Graham will be performing on cello. Mr. Graham is a current member of the Oakland Symphony and appears regularly with ensembles such as the Grammy-winning New Century Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Graham is a former member of the Chagall String Quartet, winner of a rural residency grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Adorno Ensemble.

Loren Mach is featured on percussion. Mr. Mach serves as percussionist with the Adorno Ensemble, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and Worn Chamber Ensemble. He has frequently performed with the San Francisco Symphony and in the orchestra of the hit Broadway show Wicked. In recent summers he has performed at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and was guest artist with Dawn Upshaw and eighth blackbird at the Ojai Music Festival.

Come join Fremont's Classical Chamber Music series for another of its signature "Chamber Music outside the Box" programs. Old World, New World promises a bold and unique night of romantic and contemporary music showcasing the "Rodney Dangerfield" of classical instruments - the double bass. Old World, New World will blow away your concept of the misunderstood bass while bringing a bit of glamour to this most noble member of the string family.

On Saturday, an informative, half-hour talk by musician Bill Everett will precede the concert at 7:15 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8:00 p.m. A complimentary champagne reception will immediately follow the concert where you will be able to meet the artists.

For more information, visit www.musicatmsj.org.

Old World, New World
Saturday, March 12
8 p.m.
Old Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
www.musicatmsj.org

General Admission, $28.50, Students/Seniors, $23 (online)
General Admission, $25, Students/Seniors, $20 (at the door)

Tickets may be purchased online, mail, or at the door beginning at 6:45 p.m. on the day of the performance.
Online (credit card): www.musicatmsj.org or www.artsopolis.com
Mail: 43575 Mission Blvd, Suite 523, Fremont, CA 94539

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