April 6, 2007
'Bad Boyz of the Double Bass' Bring Their Distinctive Act To UI April 16
"The Bad Boyz of the Double Bass" -- a sometimes tongue-in-cheek quartet of double bass professors, three with ties to the University of Iowa -- will present one of their distinctively humorous, emotional and virtuosic performances at 8 p.m. Monday, April 16, in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building.
The concert is free and open to the public.
The Bad Boyz are Volkan Orhon, who teaches bass at the UI School of Music, together with UI alumnus Paul Sharpe, who teaches at Texas Tech University; UI alumnus Anthony Stoops, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma; and David Murray, who teaches at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Projecting an irreverent attitude, the Bad Boyz have written about themselves: "They have appeared with no major orchestras and they have not won any competitions. But, their mothers are very proud of them. And so are their teachers, because even though they are bad, they are quite diligent in their 'naughtiness.'
"Since no composer will write music for them, they are doomed to performing transcriptions, which they happily do, except when they arrange something that is too hard to play. When that happens, they fake it, and the results are usually what you would expect, but sometimes better."
In reality, the Bad Boyz's wide-ranging repertoire embraces music from classical to rock, and that hails from Finland, Turkey, Brazil and other ports of call. Their UI concert program will include several arrangements made by members of the group, along with works written as quartets, but it is unlikely that any will actually be "too hard" for the four professors to play.
Although the Bad Boyz's style leads to an unpredictable spontaneity of programming, the concert will likely include some of the following pieces:
-- Quartet by Joseph Lauber, a Swiss organist and composer of the 19th and 20th centuries;
-- "Andante Festivo" by Jean Sibelius, arranged by Stoops;
-- Two pieces by Soghomon Soghomonyan, a Turkish-Armenian composer known as Vardapet (Priest) Komitas, arranged by Murray;
-- "Por Todo Minha Vida" by the popular Brazilian songwriter Tom Jobim, arranged by Stoops;
-- "Suite and Low" for basses by Daryl Runswick, an eclectic English pop-jazz-concert musician and composer;
-- "Pieds en L'air" by the Anglo-Welsh composer and music critic Philip Arnold Heseltine, who composed under the pseudonym Peter Warlock, arranged by Murray;
-- "Why?" by Teppo-Hauta-aho, a Finnish double bassist and composer who is known among bass players for the use of non-traditional playing techniques in his music; and
-- Stoops' "Rock Medley" and delightfully satirical "Stoops. . . . I did it again!"
The four university professors that comprise the Bad Boyz are actually decorated international solo competition winners, highly experienced chamber and orchestral musicians and dedicated teachers. They have been featured guests at the World Bass Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, the 2005 International Society of Bassists convention and the 2006 Indianapolis Bass Day.
The current year will see Bad Boyz performances at the University of Oklahoma, the Focus on the Arts Festival in Chicago and the 2007 International Society of Bassists convention in Oklahoma City, where they will perform, and release their new "Bad Boyz Live" CD.
Orhon joined the UI faculty in the fall of 2002. His professional career spans a wide variety of solo, orchestral and chamber music performing and teaching across the country and around the world. Among other honors, he was the first double bass player ever to win the Grand Prize overall and first prize for double bass at the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition. For more, see http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/STRGorhon.htm or http://www.volkanbass.com/.
Sharpe received a master's degree from the UI, where he studied with Diana Gannett. He has been a prizewinner at several solo competitions, including the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition in 1997, and he was the winner of the Aspen Music Festival's Double Bass Concerto Competition in 1996. He is currently principal bass of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. He has held faculty positions at the University of North Texas, Augustana College in Rock Island and the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City. For more information, see http://www.depts.ttu.edu/music/SOM/PaulSharpe.asp.
Stoops received an undergraduate degree in music from the UI and earned his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Michigan. While in Iowa City he taught at the Preucil School of Music. Since winning first prize in the International Society of Bassists solo competition, he has performed throughout the United States as a recitalist and chamber musician. His repertoire ranges from the traditional repertoire and American music to improvised and composed avant-garde music. For more information, see http://www.anthonystoops.com/index.html.
Murray was born in Canada and began studies on the double bass at age 12. He studied with the legendary bass teacher Gary Karr in high school and at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn. Upon graduation he received the Outstanding Performer Award from the Hartt School, and later that year he was a top prize winner in the Canada Music Competition. He was winner of the Aspen Bass Concerto Competition in 1981, and in 1988 won the International Society of Bassists Competition in Los Angeles and was presented by the Society in a Carnegie Hall debut in 1990. For more information, see http://www.butler.edu/music/mu_bio_murray.html.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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