Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Joseph Conyers, a Bassist “...who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique.”

Today's story on Michigan Radio, “GR Symphony Improves Diversity”, by Kaomi Geotz, introduced us to Joseph Conyers, a bassist who is one of two African American performers in the Grand Rapids Symphony. This post mentions his teaching career and a recent concert at which his talents as a bassist were on full display. The website of Calvin College reports that Joseph Conyers has been on its faculty since 2005, and teaches string bass. It notes that he graduated from the Curtis School of Music.

“Rising Stars offers emotional authenticity” is the heading of an article posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk of The Grand Rapids Press, on January 4, 2008:

The change that transformed the Grand Rapids Symphony's venerable Casual Classics Series into its new Rising Stars Series appears to be more than just marketing hype. The series that brought violinist Augustin Hadelich to St. Cecilia Music Center in November welcomed double bassist Joseph Conyers to Royce Auditorium's spotlight on Thursday.

Double bassist Joseph Conyers performs a solo Thursday during "Prayers of Wind and Rain," with a repeat performance tonight. Whereas Hadelich, a native of Germany raised in Italy, is going places away from here, Conyers, a native of Savannah, Ga., now living in Grand Rapids, is going places from here. At least for now.

The orchestra's 26-year-old principal double bassist made his debut in the series with a piece custom-cut for him in style as well as in substance. Philadelphia-based composer John B Hedges, who's known Conyers since their college days at Curtis Institute of Music, wrote "Prayers of Wind and Rain" especially for Conyers, a lyrical musician who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique. Full Post

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