Double bass finds its way back to the Charlotte Symphony, via circuitous route

Posted on: February 18, 2015

In Monday’s (2/16) Charlotte Observer, Lawrence Toppman writes about the journey of a double bass played by the late Ivan Zugelj, former principal bass of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, now played by Kurt Riecken, the orchestra’s new principal bass. When Zugelj died in 2013, the bass was damaged “so badly no one expected to hear it again, let alone see it.” Fellow musicians sent the instrument to be repaired by “Andy Stetson, who works wonders at his Bass Cellar in Cincinnati…. Stetson bought the wrecked instrument from Zugelj’s son and ex-wife, who lived in Ohio. He put in an estimated $20,000 in repairs and then put it up for sale.” Riecken, “with a master’s from Indiana University, had auditioned for the Charlotte job in October on a bass borrowed from IU. After winning the job, he tested the Bass Cellar’s stock, playing instruments at the store and even taking two candidates to Bloomington”—and selected Zugelj’s old bass. “ ‘It was uncanny that the bass should find its way back, [co-principal bass Michael] Mosley says.… Even now, [violist Ellen] Ferdon says, ‘It’s inevitable that at some point in a rehearsal, all of us in the bass section will turn to each other, shake our heads in disbelief, and say, Can you believe how beautiful that bass sounds?’ ”

Posted February 18, 2015