Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889) came to the bass by accident.
Entering the Milan Conservatory at age 14, Bottesini was a proficient violinist and timpanist. But his family was poor, and Bottesini, learning that the conservatory offered scholarships for the bassoon and bass, switched instruments.
The rest was history. Over the next five decades, as both composer and virtuoso, Bottesini helped to establish the bass as a viable solo instrument while challenging perceptions of its technical boundaries.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, the Washington University Symphony Orchestra will perform Bottesini’s celebrated “Bass Concerto No. 2” (1845) as part of the 2017 Chancellor’s Concert.
The program will open with the first movement of Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8 (1828). The bass concerto will follow. The soloist will be Ryan Wahidi, a sophomore in physics in Arts & Sciences, who won the annual Friends of Music Concerto Competition last fall.
After intermission, the Washington University Choirs will join the symphony for a performance of Schubert’s “Mass No. 3 in B-flat Major” (1815). Soloists will be soprano Stella Markou, mezzo-soprano Martha J. Hart, tenor Keith Wehmeier and bass Matt Pentecost.
The 2017 Chancellor’s Concert is presented by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences. It will take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall of the 560 Music Center. Nicole Aldrich, director of choral activities, leads the choirs. Horst Buchholz conducts the Symphony Orchestra. Sandra Geary is accompanist for the choir.
The 560 Music Center is located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. For more information, call 314-935-5566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.