Rodrigo Mata

Rodrigo Mata: On the G for solo double bass

Rodrigo Mata: On the G for solo double bass

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About the Composition / December 2020

Gary Karr often uses a very suitable allegory to describe the sound of the double bass and once said the following phrase "If chocolate could sing, it would sound like the Double Bass." This idea takes me directly to everything that this great master of the double bass represents, from his musical performance, his way of teaching and sharing, his great legacy that has made an international impact for many decades and his continuous contributions to the world of the double bass. And it seems to me that "chocolate" is a word that brings together many of the qualities of this legendary musician.

The piece “On the G” is inspired by the aforementioned term and through a purely sweet and melodic central theme, it seeks to express a little of the personality that Gary Karr reflects in his way of being and interpreting music. It has been designed with great respect and admiration for the maestro Karr and is composed using some unconventional double bass techniques such as flageolet pizzicatos, octave artificial harmonics, the simultaneous playing of ordinary and harmonic notes, and the simultaneous playing of pizzicato and bow, in the same way, it preserves a tonal harmonic form and a traditional rhythmic symmetry. 

The title of the work refers to three elements that are related to each other, the first is that the “G” is the initial letter of “Gary” and symbolizes that the music is inspired by his life and work, the second is that The main melody of the piece stands out mainly on the G string of the double bass and the third is that it is a small reference to the biography of G.K., written by Mary Rannie, entitled "Gary Karr: Life on the G String".

This work has been commissioned by master David Heyes for one of his excellent commissioned projects, the celebration of the 80th birthday of the great Gary Karr and it was premiered in the ISB Virtual Convention 2021.

About the Composer

Bassist and composer born in 1985 in Guanajuato, Mexico, he graduated in double bass at the University of Guanajuato. Concurrently, he studied with Valeria Thierry (Mexico) in Mexico City and, in 2010, completed an academic stay at Mount Royal University in the city of Calgary, Canada, with Sheila Garrett (Canada), John Hyde (Canada) and Rubim de Toledo (Brazil). From 2019 to 2021, he studied for a Master's Degree in Music Performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music with Dan Styffe (Sweden) and Håkon Thelin (Norway). He has received master classes from renowned musicians such as Stefano Scodanibbio (Italy), Bertram Turetzky (United States), Frank Proto (United States), Markus Stockhausen (Germany), Dominic Seldis (United Kingdom), Thierry Barbe (France), Jeff Bradetich (United States), among others.

As a soloist, he has premiered works by contemporary composers in Mexico, the United States, and Norway. He has performed with Calgary Youth Orchestra in Canada, Orquesta de Cámara de Leon, the Norwegian Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta, Ensemble 3030, and the Bergen Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently a bassist in Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato, as well as several chamber music and jazz projects. He is conductor and founder of the double bass ensemble "Mushamukas," with which he has premiered works by avant-garde composers and with which, in 2022, he was a beneficiary of FONCA's Programa de Fomento a Proyectos y Coinversiones Culturales. In 2021 he was a beneficiary of Programa de Estímulos a la Creación y Desarrollo Artístico (PECDA) as a creator with trajectory.

As a composer, he has won first prize in the 2020 and 2022 ISB (International Society of Bassist) Composition Contest, first prize in the 2021 FICI (Festival Internacional de Contrabajo Infantil) Composition Contest, and has been the resident composer of the Latin Orchestra of Europe in 2021, his works have been performed in Norway, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Germany, Venezuela, Peru, and the United States.

Both as a performer, as a composer, and as a director, he has participated in numerous international events such as the International Cervantino Festival, the Fjord Classics Festival, the International Festival of Contemporary Art, the Callejón del Ruido International Festival, the International Jazz Festival in Irapuato, the Convention of the International Society of Bassists and the Baja California Latin American Double Bajos Festival, to name a few, and has made album recordings with the Tagma Records, Quindecim Recordings and Evidence Classics record labels.

Additionally, he has served as a teacher in the Community Orchestras of the Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, Trinitate Philharmonia, and continues as a double bass professor at the University of Guanajuato.

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