Musical Legacy: l’dor vador

Gary Karr

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Maestro Matthew Kraemer present “Double Talk” — the double bass duo, David Murray and “the world’s leading solo bassist” (Time Magazine) Gary Karr in concert on Friday, April 21, 2017. Coming out of retirement for one night only, Karr performs with his former student who now serves as ICO Principal Bass and Butler University professor with Jordan College of The Arts.

ICO Principal Bass David Murray

Bass virtuoso Gary Karr rose to fame in 1962 when he made his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic and he went on to become the first solo doublebassist in history to make that pursuit a full-time career! In addition to his roles as Principal Bass for ICO and Butler professor, David Murray serves as Principal Bassist with Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois, and at the Bear Valley Music Festival in northern California. Before coming to Butler University, Murray taught at West Texas A&M University and served as principal with the Amarillo Symphony.

The special connection between these two performers makes this Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra concert unique. Notably, Gary Karr was Murray’s first private teacher in a Halifax (Nova Scotia) high-school, and later at Hartt Music School, University of Hartford. From the first meeting in a 1970’s high school classroom to today’s concert stage, the artists have remained close for all these years. Today Murray has performed and taught for over three decades.

Serge Koussevitzky

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra is pleased to celebrate a musical legacy being passed from generation to generation – l’dor vador.

Speaking of musical legacies, in an American Symphony Orchestra program article, Gary Karr noted a unique exchange involving the Russian-born conductor, composer, and double-bassist Serge Koussevitzky. While the two never met in person, they met through legacy…

The story following is in Karr’s own words.
(Click to read the entire article.)

“In 1962, the morning after I played my debut recital in Town Hall, I received a surprise call from Mme. Koussevitzky. When I heard this strange, soft-spoken, aristocratic Russian accent, I thought that it was a friend playing a practical joke on me. She said, “This is Olga Koussevitzky calling,” and, without hesitation, I replied, “Yeh baby, I’ll bet!” Undaunted by my insolence, she kindly invited me to her apartment. Upon arriving, the first thing that I noticed was her husband’s famous Amati doublebass made in 1611. She then said, “After having heard you play last night, I felt that you were the one to carry on my husband’s legacy. Therefore I have decided to offer you my husband’s doublebass as a gift.” She told me that his Amati was his “constant companion” and that he practiced on it “everyday of his life.” I later discovered that she had been invited to my recital by Jennie Tourel, the great mezzo soprano whom I consider to be my musical mentor. She told Mme. Tourel that, during my concert, she had seen the ghost of her husband with his arms around both my doublebass and me in approval. It was that vision which convinced her that his Amati, which I am playing tonight, should be in my hands. During many of my performances in the past few decades, several parapsychologists have told me that they too had seen the apparition, always wearing the same long frock and white gloves. Now, even as a dapper ghost, the figure of the great Serge Koussevitzky still haunts the concert stage.”


Saturday, April 21, 2017 – 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra’s Double Talk
Maestro Matthew Kraemer, music director and conductor
Gary Karr and David Murray, Double Bass
Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center, Indianapolis, IN

Korngold  Much Ado About Nothing Suite, Op. 11
Bloch  Prayer
Bottesini  Passione Amorosa
German  Three Dances from Henry VIII
Shostakovich  Hamlet: Incidental Music, Op. 32a

Tickets: $35 adults; $12 students; Group Discounts Available
FMI: 317-940-9607 or

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