With Mr Karr and his double bass you only can fly !! Every Karr's Cd is a different history in his wonderful life with Harmon Lewis.
Mr Karr is the "singer with a double bass", don't forget it!
Thank you, Vito, for your very flattering compliment, but I don't consider myself worthy of such extraordinary praise! Of course, I am very pleased to be singled out by you, but I am also aware of the many great bassists who have had an enormous impact on the perceptions of our instrument during the past century. As to the second part of your question, I must admit that I am unaware of the kind of love that you mentioned. Although I've been in the public eye for four decades, I am basically very shy and somewhat of a loner (which is one reason I live on an island!). Probably for very human reasons, I am much more aware of my colleague's criticism of me than I am of their admiration. Having had so much public exposure, it made me feel like the sitting duck at the carnival. It seemed like everyone enjoyed taking pot shots at me! This situation made me even more shy and reclusive. However, the irony is that my own criticism of my playing was far more severe than that of anyone else and, to this day, I still follow my own drummer and I still hope to become a better bass player.
2) You have recorded an incredible numbers of Lps and Cds! Is there a sure numbersof your published recording or have you got some materials never published?
I've never counted the amount of recordings that I've made, so I can't give you a number. Most of my recordings were done for King Records in Japan because the Japanese musical audience embraced my playing more than anywhere else. However, I do have a lot of recorded music that has not yet been released. The next two will be Japanese Songs with a marvelous singer, Kuniko Furuhata and an album of all Schumann, one of my favorite composers. Also, I am presently working on my two final bass books.
3) You have been the unique double bass player who lives only with recitals, recordings,master classes all over the world. Which is, in your opinion, the main reason of thisincredible success?
I imagine that the concept of success is in the mind, eye and ears of the beholder. Since, even at my old age, I have so much yet to accomplish that I don't consider myself successful at all! Because I want so much to do better, I feel ashamed of my playing over past years. Even as a teacher, I have made a lot of mistakes and I am aware of the fact that each summer when I have my Karr Kamp that I have grown a lot as a mentor. In my own mind, I don't think that I'll ever be successful, but I hope to keep trying to better myself until my dying day.
4) Mr. Karr you are considerated a "Singer with a Double Bass". Can you explain better this conceptto young students which begin their studies? And what other else?
All my strongest influences came from the vocal world, so my instrument became my voice. If I could sing, I would love to sound like a contrabass. When I was very young, I heard the voice of the contrabass in my head. I was aware of the fact that my concept was very different from my grandfather, father, uncle and cousins who all played the contrabass, but all I wanted to do was sing on the instrument. Even with Simandl (whose books I detest to this day!), I loved to play slowly the exercises in minor keys! They gave me an opportunity to express my passions which has always been my greatest source of satisfaction. As a teacher, when I work with students I try to strengthen their mental images of the sound of the contrabass. Each person has their own unique way of producing a sound and for me this is the most important aspect of playing. It is far more important than technical development. For me, sound is everything! Isn't that the way a singer thinks?
5) Mr Karr, you are developed an incredible technique on your famous double bass.Do you think it's only a question of numbers of hours spent to study, or is it better the qualityof study.
Actually, I consider my technique to be very poor. I have a lot of problems which I have never been able to solve. However, what technique I do have was to realize my musical intent more than anything else. The musical idea always came first (before the technique) and it was my job to find a way to bring the musical idea to life. This is what inspired my technical development. I've been known to work on just eight measures in a slow piece for an hour until I was able to accomplish my musical goal. For me, there is no stronger impetus for technical development than a musical idea.
7) Mr Karr, Harmon Lewis has been your principal pianist and organist! Today, what do you feelto tell about "your pianist"?
More than anything else, I would advise pianists to pay more attention to their left hand. Most pianists learn to bring most of the music out of their right hand, but, as a bassist, I know that the music cannot exist without the musical foundation of the left hand! Also, because the bass is so low, it is important to give the player as much bottom support as possible, otherwise it will always sound like the bass is accompanying the right hand of the piano.
6) Last thing. Mr Karr which are you main ideas for your incredible carreer in the future?
My career as a performer ended in 2001, but I still would like to produce a couple dozen more CDs, finish my bass books, make my editions of my arrangements of music available to all bassists, and I would like to make as many DVDs as possible in which I will perform and give lectures about playing. Also, I am presently working with Han Han Cho with whom I will make some CDs and DVDs of bass duets that we have arranged from 18th and 19th century repertoire written for other instruments.
BACH - Solo Suites
Pictures At An Exhibition - Mussorgsky (CD and LP)
BACH GAMBA SONATAS
Musics for Violoncello and Bass
the spirit of koussevitzky
ADAGIO d' ALBINONI
Gary Karr Plays Japanese Songs II (CD)
GARY KARR plays BASS
GARY KARR plays JAPANESE SONGS
Gary Karr Plays Japanese Songs II (CD)
Apres un Reve
SONGS of PRAYER
Gary Karr Plays Religious Songs and Hymns (CD)
GARY KARR RECITAL
John Downey Concerto (CD)
Two Cultures, One Heart (CD)
Orchestral Masterpieces (CD)
RICCI and COLLEGUES
Adaskin Collection (CD)
Dvorak Doublebass Quintet and The American Quartet (CD)
Biblical Compositions (CD)
THE LONDON DOUBLE BASS SOUND
Maestro Karr has been the unique soloist double bass player who has been able to record for the Deutcshe Grammophon (Germany).
If you like, listen to something of it!
8) What is your focused sound
10) The sound travels more ...
11) Why did you decide to use the German bow?
12) Can we consider Harmon Lewis the unique pianist in allover the world who knows a very big part of repertory fordouble bass, more transcritions?
13) But Gary, is there a secret before entering into a theatre?
14) You have prepared a lot of great double bass players.is there anyone you would like to mention.
The "Genius" Gary Karr in BASSO CANTANTE.
On the left his KOUSSEVITZKY AMATI.
On the right TESTORE: BOTTESINI's doublebass!!
MAESTRO GARY what are you going to prepare for your FUNS in the future?
"My brother Vito,Karr Kamp has now finished and I'm very pleased that it went well. The review of the concert is below".
Phillip T Young Recital Hall
July 27, 2010
Until roughly four decades ago - when it was unceremoniously toppled from its throne - John Philip Sousa's most famous single piece was almost certainly The Stars and Stripes for Ever. (The toppling came about when the rather less well known Liberty Bell march was chosen for Monty Python's Flying Circus, thus ensuring its instant recognisability even in places where they have never heard of Sousa).
Even today, especially within beer-can-hurling-distance of an English football (soccer, if you must) stadium, the Stars and Stripes can still be heard, albeit it truncated form and accompanied by the deathless lyrics "Here we go, here we go, here we go" (this is the total libretto, repeated numerous times), so that many in the UK habitually refer to it as "The earwig song" (trying singing it aloud while dropping the initial aspirate).
And it was with a splendidly vital, not to mention jolly, account of the Earwig Song that the official programme of Basses Loaded XIV closed on Tuesday evening.
One of the (many) delights of Basses Loaded is the way in which the same formula can be the source of endless variation; one can fairly easily summarise that formula: start with a Bach chorale prelude, proceed with the ensemble playing a number of arranged works, have some music played by smaller sub-ensembles, then a brief Karr-Lewis duo recital and end with frequently well-known and less-than-completely-serious pieces from the full ensemble again.
Oh yes, I must not forget the mandatory and greatly anticipated appearance of the two Karr-Lewis canine accomplices during the final piece.
But no matter how formulaic the programme may appear each year, somehow ennui never sets in.
This year, for example, the first half of the evening featured music from five composers, all of whom were born in the same decade (1681 to 1690); one, Giacobo Cervetto, even lived to the ripe old age of 101 - remarkable to think that he was born three years before Bach and Handel and died a mere eight years before Mozart.
Bach and Telemann were the "big" names of this group, Cervetto, Veracini and Durante (I'd love to discover that he was an ancestor of Jimmy) the lesser-known.
The opening Bach chorale prelude is perhaps the Basses Loaded signature piece (not that we hear the same one every year) and the joys of apparently sitting inside a single huge instrument have been well-enough adumbrated by myself and others in the past. This year's performance of "Erbarm' dich mein, O Herre Gott" was up to the usual high standard.
Cervetto's Sonata IV, played by the full ensemble, had a lumbering elegance all its own; Durante's Vergin Tutto Amor was beautifully plaintive.
Gary Karr and Hector Tirado gave a wonderful performance of an aria by Telemann, made even more remarkable by the fact of Tirado's deafness.
Karr and (Victoria Symphony principal bassist) Mary Rannie gave a delightful performance of Sonata VII by Veracini which culminated in a deliciously lively 6/8 allegro finale.
More Veracini - the Sonata IV - closed the first half of the evening performed by Karr and longtime partner Harmon Lewis. I thought the opening largo e nobile particularly fine, even if (because?) it bore a superficial resemblancee to "Ombra mai fu" - or Handel's Largo as it was still known when I learnt to play it (very badly) on the piano.
After all of this early-18th-century music, the opening of the second half - a divertimento by Haydn - came as almost a shock. It was marvellously played by Karr, Noriko Okamoto and Airi Shoda, with some enchanting diminuendo and pianissimo playing in the minuet's trio.
It was a performance to remind one once again what a great, great composer Haydn was, to be able to produce music of this quality in such quantity (I suspect that this may well have originated as one of the 176 trios he wrote for the baryton).
Although there are age-limits for admission to KarrKamp - eighteen to (for some bizarre reason) ninety-seven - as Karr admitted, he is prepared to make the occasional exception.
Bazelaire's (who?) Aria di Chiesa was performed by three of those "occasional" exceptions: Daniel Carias, Milad Daniari and Moe Winograd, all of whom are just seventeen years old.
It was a sombre piece and played with much feeling, even if a (presumed) lack of small-ensemble playing meant that there were infrequent minor infelicities in synchronisation.
For many of the audience, I am sure, a - if not the - highlight of the evening is the performance by the Karr-Lewis Duo; in this case they gave two pieces by birthday boy Robert Schumann, the Romanze, Op.28 No,2 and Abendlied, Op.85 No.12.
These were the kind of performances which silence criticism: each of the pair is a magnificent musician in his own right but their duo is more than the sum of its parts. I look forward every year to these few minutes more than I can say.
After which the entire ensemble trooped back onto the stage - for some more Schumann.
Northern Song certainly had the air of something from the Baltic and Wild Horsemen was bouncy and great fun.
At which point we shifted to North America with Down at the OK Corral by T. Osborne - the only composer of the evening who is still with us - a decidedly cheerful piece, given the association most of us have with the name "O.K.Corral", full of nods in the direction of Copland and even a hint of the theme from Bonanza.
Some real Copland followed - the Hoe-Down from Rodeo - and then Leonard Bernstein's paean to the joys of 6/8 time: America from West Side Story ("Everything's free in America - for a small fee in America"), taken at a somewhat deliberate tempo, but not lacking in propulsion.
And finally, the aforementioned Earwig Song, enlivened by Karr's dazzling playing of the fluting (actually I think the original uses the piccolo, but there is no such word as "piccoloing") descant somewhere in the nosebleed section of his bass's fingerboard.
For some reason I always leave the hall on these occasions with a mild feeling of regret that I ever gave up the bass; but it is inevitably tempered with the knowledge that, even on my best days, I never had one iota of the talent displayed by the people on stage on Tuesday evening.
Basses Loaded is an institution; long may it flourish.
Bass: Philip Ambuel, Richard Backus, Natalee Binning, Daniel Carias, Milad Daniari, Jane Heise, Gary Karr, Sara Klein, Noriko Okamoto, Rob Oxoby, Mary Rannie, Jilian Read, Günter Rohde, Gabriel
Garabini Sakamoto, Zachary Sempers, Airi Shoda, Keira Tideman, Hector Tirado, Moe Winograd.
Piano: Harmon Lewis.
Basso canino: Shinju, Shiro
"This Arioso of J.S. Bach is an example of the composer's desire to transcribe a piece that he liked for more than one instrument. In the Cantata 156, Bach
either expected the performer to ornament the music ad libitum or to play it unornamented as he wrote it. In the keyboard version Bach decided to add his own concept of ornamentation. For my many
performances of the Arioso I enjoyed playing the ornamented keyboard version which is why I am offering Bach's own special arrangement of this wonderful piece." - GARY KARR