In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by the New Yorker as “...the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument”, 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. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002.
As a solo classical bassist, Mr. Meyer has released a concerto album 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, he released an album of three of Bach’s Unaccompanied Suites for Cello. In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and played all of the pieces, incorporating instruments including piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of “The Best of Edgar Meyer”. 2011 saw the release of the Sony Masterworks recording “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” where Mr. Meyer joined Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan.
As a composer, Mr. Meyer has carved out a remarkable and unique niche in the musical world. In the summer of 2012, Mr. Meyer debuted his newest composition, the Double Concerto for Double Bass and Violin, with Joshua Bell. The work premiered at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Meyer will take the composition on the road in Spring 2013, performing with the Nashville Symphony and the Toronto Symphony. In the 2011-12 season, he was composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony and premiered his third concerto for double bass. The Fall of 2009 saw the release of The Melody of Rhythm, a collection of trio pieces co-composed with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain; the album also featured their triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla, which was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, and was recorded in January 2009 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin. The trio toured extensively throughout the US and Europe in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. During the 2005-2006 season, Mr. Meyer premiered the revised version of his Double Bass Concerto No. 2 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was commissioned to write a piece for violin and piano to be performed by Joshua Bell at the Montalvo Arts Center and New York’s Lincoln Center. Mr. Meyer premiered his Double Bass Concerto No. 1 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. Mr. Meyer has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, featuring the premiere of one of his own works, the Meyer Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma. In October 1999, Mr. Meyer’s violin concerto, written for violinist Hilary Hahn, was premiered and recorded by Ms. Hahn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Hugh Wolff.
Collaborations are a central part of Mr. Meyer’s work. His CD and DVD of original material written and recorded with Chris Thile was released on Nonesuch in Fall 2008, following their extensive tours together. His previous performing and recording projects including a duo with Béla Fleck; a quartet with Joshua Bell, Sam Bush and Mike Marshall; a trio with Béla Fleck and Mike Marshall; and a trio with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor have been widely acclaimed. The latter trio collaborated for Appalachia Waltz, which was released in 1996, 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 the David Letterman Show 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 that season. In the 2006-2007 season, Mr. Meyer premiered a piece for double bass and piano that he performed with Emanuel Ax. Mr. Meyer also works with pianist Amy Dorfman, his longtime collaborator for solo recitals, featuring both classical repertoire and his own compositions.
Mr. Meyer began studying bass at the age of five under the instruction of his father and continued further to study with Stuart Sankey. In 1994 he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2000 became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize. Currently, he is Visiting Professor of Double Bass at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.