About Edgar Meyer
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.