Casey Karr

Bass

Hometown: Novato, CA
Alma maters: Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University
Appearances: Civic Orchestra of Chicago, 2015–17; Domaine Forget Music Academy, 2016–17; Texas Music Festival, 2016; National Repertory Orchestra, 2015
Musical origins: I began playing the double bass in 7th grade, shortly after falling in love with the sonorous tones of the electric bass. I had been playing in my middle school jazz band and wanted to join the concert band, and the band director said I could only do it if I learned upright. I quickly began exploring the instrument, and never turned back!
Favorite piece to play: Mahler’s Symphony No. 2—just listen to the first few minutes and you’ll see why it’s bass player heaven.
Favorite obscure piece: Here, Leaving by Kristin Kuster—it’s a beautiful cello feature for string quartet plus bass and marimba. I was lucky to get to play it in Chicago several times and record it with the Zafa Collective.
Favorite musical memory: Playing principal bass on Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes with the National Repertory Orchestra in 2015. The piece is a set of theme and variations, and the return of the theme just before the final orchestral tutti is a gorgeous and lyrical solo for the bass accompanied only by harp. We don’t get many opportunities to play in such a sensitive way with the orchestra. It was a unique moment in my playing career.
Which composer would have had the best social media: I think it would be fascinating to see Beethoven’s Twitter account. His music is such an emotional whirlwind, I can only imagine a live feed of his daily life!
Favorite fact about your instrument: Although the bass looks a lot like the violin or cello, it’s believed to be a cousin of the Viola da Gamba and not part of the violin family at all!
The thing most people don’t know about classical music is: People are still writing it! Contemporary classical music is extremely varied and intriguing. It’s not all just dead composers.
Favorite non-musical hobby or activity: I love running, hiking, and generally spending time outdoors.

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