GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 19, 2013

Bach to Brazilian choros: Duo will play it all

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — Double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer will perform with his long-time collaborator, Mike Marshall, a virtuoso mandolin player at the Shalin Liu Performance Center on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.

Meyer and Marshall are among the top instrumentalists of their kind, and they have played with greats such as Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, and Bela Fleck. The two have performed together for more than 20 years. They will present a program that spans both space and time, featuring everything from Bach duets to Brazilian choros to bluegrass.

Meyer was applauded by New Yorker magazine, whose critic wrote “... Mr. Meyer’s unparalleled technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the fore, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience.” He was granted a MacArthur Award in 2002.

The following is excerpted from an interview Rockport Music had with Meyer in a question and answer format.

Q: What should people expect when they come to the concert?

A: A spirited show... Mike plays with a big personality — a lot of life but with a lyrical side. Bluegrass and jazz define the sounds with a rhythmical connection.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your collaborations with Mike over the past two decades?

A: When he cooks. Mike is a chef and friends with professional chefs. He plays with the same passion as he cooks.

Q: How did the MacArthur Award change your life?

A: It doesn’t help you lose weight or play in tune, but it helped reinforce a sense of confidence in what I do. It encourages you to think very freely, even the potential of changing professions and not to place limits on your job description.

Q: Teaching at Curtis while living in Nashville, how often do you have to commute?

A: I teach students at Curtis about six times a year and split instruction with Harold Robinson at the Curtis Institute. In the summers, I go to Aspen where my wife plays and sometimes students come out for instruction as well.

Q: I understand you began your studies with your father who was a jazz bassist. How did you start playing all of the different genres?

A: Dad was a jazz bassist and then studied classically, so by the time I was 5 he played both genres. He did instruct me on playing the instrument, but the biggest influence was growing up in a house with both a ‘jazz and classical record collection.’

Q: What projects or music do you think you will venture into next?

A: I’m working slowly towards bass only programs. I do so much collaboration, it leaves some things undernourished. I want to do more with the bass and make sure it’s something people would enjoy. Mostly writing, playing….more of that.

For tickets and more information, visit rockportmusic.org.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.

If you go Who and what: Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall in a concert featuring Bach duets to Brazilian choros to bluegrass. When: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. Where: Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main St. in Rockport. How much: $35 to $66. Tickets at Rockport Music Box Office, 35 Main St., or by phone 978-546-7391, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday; or online at tickets.rockportmusic.org.