If I ever needed to hide a body, I would probably use the case of an upright bass. And in case you're in need of one, Austin will be flooded with such cases this weekend for Austin BassFest.
Hosted by Professor DaXun Zhang at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, in partnership with the Texas Performing Arts Center, this three-day long event is a congregation of superstar bassists from around the world to Austin, including Edgar Meyer, Hal Robinson, Lawrence Hurst, Paul Ellison, Timothy Pitts and Jeff Bradetich.
For visiting bass players, the BassFest will mostly consist of various masterclasses, workshops, and recitals (full schedule here), the highlight being the solo competition, which will take place Saturday, Sept. 22nd from 1-3 p.m. and will be open to die-hard spectators.
For the average human being, BassFest has two mid-range concert highlights on the events calendar. First is the opening concert on Friday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m., a recital of works for bass and piano by First Prize winner of the Bradetich International Double Bass Competition, Artem Chirkov. Second is the closing concert on Sunday, Sept. 23 at noon, a recital by Austin’s own DaXun Zhang.
The big show of the weekend will be The Art of Edgar Meyer, Saturday Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. in the McCullough Theater. Edgar Meyer is probably the closest that any contemporary bassist can get to being “famous,” proficient as a composer, arranger, and a performer of a variety of styles including classical, bluegrass and jazz. He’s also performed with everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Chris Thile.
Solo bass recitals are not standard classical music repertoire. But these players are stellar and I have to admit the sound of a solo bass is oddly intriguing. If you’re looking for a traditional yet slightly offbeat thing to do this weekend, then BassFest might be just the thing for you. Especially if you need somewhere to hide a body...