Prominently established as a unique and masterful instrumentalist, Edgar Meyer delights his audiences both as a vibrant performer and an innovative composer. Hailed by the New Yorker as, "...the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled 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 has released a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra featuring Bottesini's Gran Duo with Joshua Bell; Meyer's Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma; Bottesini's Bass Concerto No. 2 and Meyer's Concerto in D for Bass along with an acclaimed album of Bach's Unaccompanied Suites for Cello.
Fruitful collaborations are a major aspect of Mr. Meyer's work. Music for Two is the latest collaboration with banjoist Béla Fleck and features live performances from the duo's tours together from October 2001 to September 2003. The recording also features a DVD with footage documenting the tour and the development of their collaboration on specific works in the program. Prior to that, Mr. Meyer joined with violinist Joshua Bell and legendary bluegrass musicians Sam Bush and Mike Marshall to form a quartet featuring a unique fusion of classical and bluegrass musical styles. The album, Short Trip Home, released in Fall 1999, was nominated for a Grammy award in the category of Best Classical Crossover album and the group was subsequently invited to perform live at the 42nd annual Grammy Awards. Shortly before this collaboration, Mr. Meyer was involved in an inventive trio project with Béla Fleck on banjo and Mike Marshall on mandolin, performing original compositions marrying bluegrass, classical and other traditional styles. In October 1997, the Fleck/Marshall/Meyer trio opened the 1997-98 season of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in conjunction with the release of their SONY disc, Uncommon Ritual. Earlier in Mr. Meyer's career, from 1986-1992, he was a member of the progressive bluegrass band "Strength in Numbers," whose members included Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, and Mark O'Connor. Mr. Meyer also works with pianist Amy Dorfman, his longtime accompanist for solo recitals, featuring both classical repertoire and his own compositions. To further explore his interests in a variety of musical genres, Mr. Meyer's vast musical interests have also led him to be a widely sought after guest bass player for an assortment of recording artists, such as Garth Brooks, Bruce Cockburn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Hank Williams, Jr., Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, T-Bone Burnett, Reba McIntyre, the Indigo Girls, Travis Tritt and the Chieftains.
An exclusive Sony Classical artist who is ever involved in imaginative projects, Mr. Meyer's latest venture is a collaboration with himself. This recording, entitled Edgar Meyer, presents him performing 14 all new instrumental pieces he has created for himself to perform, on an array of instruments, through multi-track recording.
On Sony Classical, Mr. Meyer and colleagues Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O' Connor have been widely acclaimed for the release of Appalachia Waltz, 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. The follow-up recording, Appalachian Journey, was released in March 2000. This time, their tour took them not only to major venues across the U.S. but also to Europe and parts of Asia. Appalachian Journey won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album that season. In October 1999, Mr. Meyer's violin concerto written for violinist Hilary Hahn was premiered and recorded by Ms. Hahn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Hugh Wolff.
Mr. Meyer began studying bass at the age of five under the instruction of his father, and continued further to study with Stuart Sankey. He is the winner of numerous competitions. In 1994 he became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000 became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize. Mr. Meyer premiered his bass concerto in 1993 with Edo de Waart and the Minnesota Orchestra, and in 1995, he premiered his Quintet for Bass and String Quartet in collaboration with the Emerson String Quartet, which was later recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Also, in 1995, he premiered his Double Concerto for Bass and Cello, in collaboration with Carter Brey, cello and Jeffrey Kahane conducting the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival Orchestra. Mr. Meyer has also performed with the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, featuring the premiere of one of his own works, the Meyer Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma, and most recently premiered an exciting new concerto for Banjo and Double Bass with co-composer Bela Fleck and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. A frequent guest at music festivals, Mr. Meyer has appeared as performer and composer at Aspen, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, and Marlboro. At the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival, he was a regular guest from 1985-1993, and composed six works for the festival during that time. In 1994, Mr. Meyer joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and continues to perform regularly with this ensemble. Currently, he is also Visiting Professor of Double Bass at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Mike Marshall is one of the world's most accomplished and versatile acoustic musicians, a master of mandolin, guitar and violin whose playing is as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling. Able to swing gracefully from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Latin styles, he puts his stamp on everything he plays with an unusually potent blend intellect and emotion a combination of musical skill and instinct rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists.
Now living in Oakland, California, Mike grew up in Central Florida, where throughout his teens he played and taught bluegrass mandolin, fiddle and guitar. In 1979, at the age of 19, he was invited to join the original David Grisman Quintet. Mike has since been at the forefront of the acoustic music scene, playing on hundreds of acoustic-music recordings both as lead artist and ensemble performer. His 1982 Cd, Gator Strut, is a classic example of a new generation of bluegrass virtuoso instrumentalists forging new directions in this vital musical style.
Throughout his career, Mike has performed and recorded with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalists in the world, including jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, fiddle virtuoso Mark O'Connor, five-string banjo phenom Bela Fleck, bassist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edgar Meyer, and classical violinist Joshua Bell.
Mike and violinist Darol Anger formed a partnership in 1983, together they formed the band Montreux with pianist Barbara Higbie, bassist Michael Manring, and steel-drum virtuoso Andy Narell. The group released five recordings on the Windham Hill label and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan from 1984 to 1990.
While continuing to be an active member of Montreux, in 1986 Mike founded a classical string quartet of mandolin family instruments -- two mandolins, mandola and mandocello. The Modern Mandolin Quartet released four recordings for Windham Hill Records that redefined the mandolin in a classical-music setting. In 1995, the Quartet made its Carnegie Hall debut and, in 1996, received a "Meet The Composer" grant from the Lila Wallace Foundation.
Meanwhile, Mike had traveled to Brazil and begun his love affair with choro, an indigenous music that is to Brazil what bluegrass is to the U.S. He embarked on an in-depth study of the style that resulted in the CD "Brasil (Duets)." This recording showcases Mike at the top of his form as a mandolinist in duet settings, and features top instrumentalists such as Andy Narell, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, bassist Michael Manring, and keyboardist and flutist Jovino Santos Neto.
Mike has continued to push the boundaries of acoustic instrumental music. After tapping Fleck and Meyer for the "Brasil (Duets)" project, he collaborated with the two masters on a 1997 Sony Classical release titled "Uncommon Ritual." The album charted on the Billboard Top Ten Classical Chart, where it remained for more than three months. The following year, the ensemble opened the Chamber Music Series 1998 season at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Mike worked with Meyer yet again on the 1999 "Short Trip Home," another Sony Classical recording with Joshua Bell and fiddle-and-mandolin player Sam Bush.
Mike has two holiday recordings to his credit: In 1998, he released "Midnight Clear," a solo guitar recording, and in 2000 he recorded "A Christmas Heritage" with banjo player Alison Brown, Darol Anger, mandolinist Tim O'Brien, Todd Phillips and pianist-composer Phil Aaberg. That band, called New Grange, also released an eponymous CD on Compass Records.
Today Mike can be heard on the Car Talk soundtrack recording every week on NPR along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. In addition Mike composed and recorded the theme music for the San Francisco based radio program Forum heard daily on KQED radio.
Darol Anger remains an important collaborator for Mike. To date, they have released 6 albums as a duo on Compass and Windham Hill Records. Together they have also recorded under the moniker Psychograss with guitarist David Grier, banjo player Tony Trischka and bassist Todd Phillips.
Over the past several years, Mike has also been collaborating Chris Thile, of Nickel Creek. The two mandolinists began performing together at festivals and eventually evolved into a duo, recording their first album in 2003. This cd, entitled Into the Cauldron, is a mandolin duet project performed entirely on mandolin and mandocello. Released on Sugar Hill records, this album was listed in the top ten of Amazon.com's favorite recordings for 2003.
Throughout his career, Mike has recorded with many different labels, including Rounder, Compass Records, Windham Hill, Sony Classical and Sugar Hill Records. In 2003, he decided to pursue his dream of producing his own music as well as new and exciting musicians who are arriving on the acoustic and Brazilian music scene, with his own label called, appropriately, Adventure Music. From samba and jazz to folk and world beat, a singular sound is emerging that connects the music of string band musicians from around the Americas. Adventure Music is harnessing the beauty of that sound and giving it to the world, states Marshall. Starting in the fall of 2003 and throughout 2004, Adventure Music plans to release between twelve and fifteen titles from artists that include himself, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, the duo of vocalist Claudia Villela and guitarist Ricardo Peixoto, Nelson Angelo, and guitarist Marcos Amorim. Additionally, Adventure Music has negotiated an agreement with the S? Paulo-based label Nucleo Contemporaneo to release titles from its extensive catalog for the first time in the United States.
Whether he is producing, recording, or touring, Mike is continually exploring music and evolving as a musician. In the studio, he is currently working on further collaborations with Darol Anger, onstage he performs with Darol, as well as Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. His most recent release is a project with pianist Jovino Santos Neto entitled Serenata featuring the music of Hermeto Pascoal, one of Brazils most important musician/composers living today. This cd is one of the first to be released on Adventure Music, an exciting step into the journey that lies ahead.