Autumn Double Bass Workshop 2003
Adelaide April 12th- 16th
Marryatville High School
Directed by Peter McLachlan
In April of 2003 Bass Works Australia had its second national workshop in Adelaide for double bass players. Players, from as young as 11 travelled from around Australia to have lessons with Francois Rabbath (Paris), Peter McLachlan (organiser, Adelaide), Ken Poggioli (Brisbane), George Vance (Washington) and Nicholas Walker (New York). As successful as the first workshop, the five days consisted of group classes in the morning, lunchtime concerts from the students and faculty, and master classes in the afternoon, which were taught by Francois Rabbath and supported by the rest of the faculty. There were also three larger concerts throughout the week, one from Francois Rabbath, one from Nicholas Walker, and finally a concert in which all the students and faculty took part.
Francois Rabbath continued to amaze students and audiences alike with his musicianship, virtuosity and gentle but perceptive instruction. Graham Strahle writes in The Australian, ” Rabbath is a wizard on the double bass, fingers flying with apparent freeness all over the fingerboard. Undeniably he is a virtuoso, making this sometimes intractable, gruff old instrument dance with the grace and delicacy of a violin. And that’s where his uniqueness lies: it is the apparent effortlessness of his sound, a product even more of his extraordinary fluid bowing action, that blows away all notions of the bass being a leaden object requiring brute force to muscle into action. Quite simply Rabbath is a self made phenomenon with no parallels in the modern era ”
Even more than watching Francois perform, being taught by him, spending time with him, and getting to know him, was an amazing experience for all involved. Francois’ love and enthusiasm for the instrument he has mastered inspired students, fortunate enough to attend to practise more and to work harder and smarter.
Nat Wiseman (student) writes,
It is so special to have the opportunity to attend this kind of a workshop, as it inspires people to explore their abilities more and develop their skills further as bass player. It is also amazing to see how close and family-like the bass community is – it was great to have met and talked to many other like-minded people.”
Nicholas Walker gave the second concert on the Sunday night. He gave virtuosic performances of traditional Irish tunes, jazz standards, pop tunes, alternative rock and Bach. Accompanied by Jason Hammond (piano) and Peter Mclachlan (guitar) the audience was spell bound for a very short 70 minutes.
Ken Poggioli of Brisbane and George Vance of Washington also attended as members of the faculty. George gave a passionate performance at one of the lunchtime concerts, playing pieces written for his native Serbia, in a style of music reminiscent of that country’s older songs.
So many inspired students dramatically improved in their style and technique during the week. The friendships that developed during the week between younger and older members of our bass community will be there to support those of them who choose music as a profession.