Too few conductors understand their double bass section

DBCarrDouble bass soloist Gary Karr on the need for conductors’ attitudes to change towards his instrument

During my 40 years of soloing with orchestras around the world, I have never ceased to be amazed by the lack of knowledge and respect demonstrated by some conductors towards the double bass, and by some of their demands of the double bass section. On many occasions I have felt obliged to put right a conductor’s incorrect instruction, but in my experience only two conductors, Gerard Schwarz and Otto Werner-Mueller, have ever asked me questions about double bass technique and how it applies to orchestral playing. Orchestral colleagues have said they too have never been consulted about matters concerning our instrument, so it seems that although the standard of double bass playing has risen exponentially during the past 50 years, conductors’ attitudes towards the instrument have barely changed. Full story.

Gary Karr (The Strad) / June 6, 2016

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