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Gary Karr (b1941)

Coming from a long line of Russian- and German-trained bassists, Gary Karr had been drawn to the instrument since the age of five, but of course was too small—even for an eighth-size bass played standing on an orange box! The start of his formal tuition coincided with Koussevitzky’s death, which he says gave him an affinity with the famed bassist-conductor. After Olga Koussevitzky heard his début performance, she gave to Karr the bass owned by her late husband. His solo career began in 1961, touring performances of Saint-Saëns’s ‘Le Cygne’ with the Chicago Little Symphony. He really came to prominence in 1962, as a featured artist in one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts with an audience of seven million viewers. Since then Karr has performed with numerous major orchestras worldwide, released chart-topping discs, given televised recitals, and made two films: Amazing Bass which tells his own story, and a children’s series. Having retired from regular activities, he continues to run his annual four-week intensive course for bassists, KarrKamp.




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