In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jim McGuire
In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by The New Yorker as “…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument”, Mr. Meyer’s unparalleled technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the fore, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002.
As a solo classical bassist, Mr. Meyer can be heard on a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hugh Wolff featuring Bottesini’s Gran Duo with Joshua Bell, Meyer’s own Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma, Bottesini’s Bass Concerto No. 2, and Meyer’s own Concerto in D for Bass. He has also recorded an album featuring three of Bach’s Unaccompanied Suites for Cello. In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and recorded all of the music, incorporating piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of “The Best of Edgar Meyer”. In 2011 Mr. Meyer joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan for the Sony Masterworks recording “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” which was awarded the 2012 Grammy® Award for Best Folk Album.
Mr. Meyer and Mr. Bell have also performed the work at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Aspen Music Festival, and with the Nashville and Toronto symphony orchestras. In the 2011-12 season, Mr. Meyer was composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony where he premiered his third concerto for double bass and orchestra. Mr. Meyer has collaborated with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain to write a triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla, which was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. The triple concerto was recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin and featured on the 2009 recording The Melody of Rhythm, a collection of trio pieces all co-composed by Mr. Meyer, Mr. Fleck and Mr. Hussain. Mr. Meyer has performed his second double bass concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and his first double bass concerto with Edo de Waart and the Minnesota Orchestra. Other compositions of Mr. Meyer’s include a violin/piano work which has been performed by Joshua Bell at New York’s Lincoln Center, a quintet for bass and string quartet premiered with the Emerson String Quartet and recorded on Deutsche Grammophon, a Double Concerto for Bass and Cello premiered with Yo-Yo Ma and The Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, and a violin concerto written for Hilary Hahn which was premiered and recorded by Ms. Hahn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Hugh Wolff.
Collaborations are a central part of Mr. Meyer’s work. His longtime collaboration with fellow MacArthur Award recipient Chris Thile continues in 2014 with the release on Nonesuch Records a recording of all new original material by the two genre bending artists, a follow up to their very successful 2008 cd/dvd on Nonesuch. Mr. Meyer and Mr. Thile will embark on a nationwide tour in Fall 2014 appearing in many of the major cities in the US. Mr. Meyer’s previous performing and recording collaborations include a duo with Béla Fleck; and Mike Marshall; a trio with Béla Fleck Mike Marshall; and a trio with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor. The latter collaborated for the 1996 Appalachia Waltz release which soared to the top of the charts and remained there for 16 weeks. Appalachia Waltz toured extensively in the U.S., and the trio was featured both on the David Letterman Show and the televised 1997 Inaugural Gala. Joining together again in 2000, the trio toured Europe, Asia and the US extensively and recorded a follow up recording to Appalachia Waltz, Appalachian Journey, which was honored with a Grammy® Award. In the 2006-2007 season, Mr. Meyer premiered a piece for double bass and piano performed with Emanuel Ax. Mr. Meyer also performs with pianist Amy Dorfman, his longtime collaborator for solo recitals featuring both classical repertoire and his own compositions, Mike Marshall in duo concerts and the trio with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain which has toured the US, Europe and Asia together.
Mr. Meyer began studying bass at the age of five under the instruction of his father and continued further to study with Stuart Sankey. In 1994 he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000 became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize. Currently, he is Visiting Professor of Double Bass at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.