May 14, 2012. Double bass. Usually we don’t think of the double bass as a solo instrument. Surely it provides an indispensable aural foundation to any classical symphony; Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Strauss used the instrument extensively in their compositions, but as a solo? It seems one would have to go back all the way to Giovanni Bottesini, the “Paganini of the double bass,” to hear music written for the bass as a solo instrument. But don’t tell that to the people of the Bradetich Foundation. The Foundation, established by the distinguished bassist and teacher Jeff Bradetich, was created “with the sole purpose of advancing the performing, teaching and knowledge of the double bass,” as they put it on their web site. The Foundation also runs an International double bass competition, and this, inaugural year, the winner was Artem Chirkov. Listen to his virtuoso interpretation of Astor Piazzola’s Contrabajeando (here) and you’ll agree that the Bradetich Foundation has a point!
Artem Chirkov is the principal double bassist of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic orchestra, the youngest in orchestra’s 130-year-old history. Artem began studying cello at the Special Music School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and at the age of 16, switched to the double bass and continued at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with professors Alexander Shilo and Riza Gimaletdinov. After graduating from the Conservatory, he went on to study at the Hochschule fur Music und Theater in Munich with Professor Klaus Trumpf. In addition to winning the Bradetich Competition, Artem is also the First prize winner at the International competition Virtuosi 2000 in St. Petersburg; the Johann Matthias Sperger International Double Bass competition in Michaelstein, Germany; and International Double Bass competition in Brno, the Czech Republic. He also received the 2nd prize in the International Double Bass competition of the International Society of Bass (Virginia/USA).
Atrem holds Principal Bass positions in numerous ensembles, including the St. Petersburg Camerata under conductor Saulus Sondeckis. He gave numerous master classes: at the Mannes School in New York, at the USC-Los Angeles and Institute of Music San Diego, at the universities of Tokyo and Taipei, and many conservatories in Russia. He performed solo at Pablo Casals festivals in Prades (France) and San Juan, Puerto-Rico, with St. Petersburg Camerata; International Double Bass week Zmok Wojnowice in Poland; with Yehudi Menuhin Society in Munich; at Oleg Kagan Music Festival in Kreuth; the Coburg Music Festival (Germany), Music Festival in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, among other.
We’ll hear several pieces performed by Artem and his wife, the pianist Mavzhida Gimaletdinova. Here is Chant du ménestrel, Op. 71 by Glazunov. The famous Vocalise by Rachmaninov is here. And here is a solo piece by the Czech composer and double bass virtuoso Miloslav Gadjos, Invocation (2002). You can listen to other performance by Artem Chirkov in our library.
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