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François Rabbath


François Rabbath and his contribution to the development of double bass playing can be compared with that of Paganini to the violin.

Born in Aleppo, Syria, into a musical family of six boys and three girls, François discovered the double bass at the age of thirteen when one of his brothers brought an instrument home and allowed him to experiment with it.

After studying at the-Paris Conservatoire he began his career accompanying for Jacque Brel, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, Michel Legrand and others. In 1963 he made the first of many solo albums. Although never advertised or promoted, the Phillips album Bass Ban became one of the most sought after recordings of its time.

In 1978 Rabbath met the American composer-double bassist Frank Proto and a close friendship and working partnership was formed. Both musicians were as comfortable playing chamber music at a formal concert one day and improvising with jazz musicians the next. In 1980 the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra commissioned Proto to write the Concerto No.2 for Double Bass and Orchestra which Rabbath premiered in 1981.

Two years later the Houston Symphony asked Proto to write another work especially for Rabbath, Fantasy for Double Bass and Orchestra, premiered in Houston in 1983. Their third collaboration, the Carmen Fantasy, began life as a work for double bass and piano. Rabbath again premiered the work in Cincinnati in July of 1991 with the composer at the piano. Proto orchestrated the work in the spring of 1992.

François Rabbath's uniqueness stems from his refusal to accept any traditional limitations. Whether performing his own fascinating compositions, the music of others or the classical repertoire, one is always moved by his profound musicianship and dazzling virtuosity. He brings a sense of security to the music, making the most difficult passages sound effortless.

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