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Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall


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," Meyer combines unparalleled technique and musicianship with a gift for composition, winning him a vast, varied audience. In recognition of his unique place in the world of music, the MacArthur Foundation named him a recipient of one of the 2002 recipients of its prestigious "genius" grants.

An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Edgar Meyer brings a new dimension to his long-standing friendship and collaboration with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck on Music for Two, their new recording for the label, which features live performances from the pair's first tour as a duo. After collaborating on the double-Grammy-winning Sony classical recording Perpetual Motion, the two forged a new creative alliance and crafted a repertoire for the unusual combination of bass and banjo. With original works composed by the two artists, the recording also features a DVD with footage documenting the tour and the development of their collaboration. Music for Two will be released in Spring 2004.

As a solo classical bassist, Meyer recently released a concerto album on Sony Classical 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. Just prior to that, Meyer released an album of Bach's Unaccompanied Suites for Cello.

Fruitful collaborations are the cornerstone of Meyer's work. The most recent example was the organization of a quartet made up of violinist Joshua Bell and legendary bluegrass musicians Sam Bush and Mike Marshall. This group joined together for a collaboration featuring a unique fusion of classical and bluegrass musical styles. Their first performances were in June of 1998 at the Aspen Music Festival and at Indiana University. They made their New York debut at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center following an extensive North American tour. 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, 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 Classical disc Uncommon Ritual. Earlier in 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. 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, 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.

Among his imaginative projects for Sony Classical, Meyer and colleagues Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O' Connor were widely acclaimed for the best-selling 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 Late Show With David Letterman and the televised 1997 Inaugural Gala. Joining with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O'Connor for a second time, Appalachian Journey, the follow-up to Appalachia Waltz, 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, Meyer's violin concerto written for violinist Hilary Hahn was premiered and recorded by Hahn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Hugh Wolff.

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. 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. Most recently, Meyer made his Boston Symphony debut with Seiji Ozawa conducting, featuring the premiere of one of his own works, the Meyer Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma.

A frequent guest at music festivals, Meyer has appeared as performer and composer at Aspen, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, and Marlboro. At the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, he was a regular guest from 1985-1993, and composed six works for the festival during that time. In 1994, 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.

Mike Marshall

Mike Marshall is one of the world's most accomplished and versatile acoustic musicians, a master of mandolin, guitar and violin whose playing is as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling. Able to swing gracefully from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Latin styles, he puts his stamp on everything he plays with an unusually potent blend intellect and emotion a combination of musical skill and instinct rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists.

Now living in Oakland, California, Mike grew up in Central Florida, where throughout his teens he played and taught bluegrass mandolin, fiddle and guitar. In 1979, at the age of 19, he was invited to join the original David Grisman Quintet. Mike has since been at the forefront of the acoustic music scene, playing on hundreds of acoustic-music recordings both as lead artist and ensemble performer. His 1982 Cd, Gator Strut, is a classic example of a new generation of bluegrass virtuoso instrumentalists forging new directions in this vital musical style.

Throughout his career, Mike has performed and recorded with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalists in the world, including jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, fiddle virtuoso Mark O'Connor, five-string banjo phenom Béla Fleck, bassist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edgar Meyer, and classical violinist Joshua Bell.