One of the fixtures of our final week of Heifetz concerts is our Double Bass Showcase, an invariably-entertaining selection of works that illustrate the range and variety of works for the doublebass, as well as the artistry of our student “bass section,” under the tutelage of our remarkable Heifetz faculty member Sam Suggs.
And what better way to finish with a flourish than with a work by the “Paganini of the Double Bass” – Giovanni Bottesini, the 19th-century Italian virtuoso who is credited with revolutionizing bass playing. Legend has it that Bottesini was originally a violinist, but switched to bass at the age of 14 in order to get a scholarship to the Milan conservatory – which we won after just four lessons!
Bottesini was also Giuseppe Verdi’s preferred bassist in the opera pit, and it must have rubbed off: Not only did Verdi trust him to conduct his orchestra (including the memorable premiere of Aida in Cairo), but he inspired Bottesini to compose eleven operas of his own. Back in Francis Auditorium, Heifetz students SoHyun Ko and Julide San brought out Bottesini’s operatic heart in a bravura performance of the show-closing Gran Duo Concertante. Violinist and bassist are joined by pianist Miki Sawada. Prepare to be dazzled!
Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889), the “Paganini of the Double Bass,” shown with his prized bass built by Carlo Antonio Testore in 1716.