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George Meyer, violinist, and his father, Edgar Meyer, on bass. / Hunter Museum Contributed Photo

Since Gloria Chien founded String Theory a decade ago, she has brought an illustrious roster of string musicians to play at Hunter Museum of American Art. The legendary bassist and his violinist son coming on Tuesday, Feb. 18, are no exception.

What is the exception about this father-son duo is that they have strong ties to Chattanooga.

Five-time Grammy winner Edgar Meyer, bassist, and his son, George, a violinist, will perform original compositions for violin and double bass on Tuesday. The Meyers are the nephew and great-nephew of Walt Meyer, who Chattanooga's music community know is a longtime local bass player. Their father and grandfather, Edgar Meyer Sr., a former Chattanoogan, is also a bass player.

"My dad immersed me in music from birth," Edgar Meyer Jr. said in a phone interview. "Before I could talk I was acting like I played bass, and was actively playing by 5."

Edgar learned the instrument from his father at age 5, and when son George reached that age, Edgar required him to play an instrument as well. Violin was his choice.

"My son was more excited about music by age 11 or 12," Meyer recalls. "George went through a phase where he was mandolin-obsessed. He also plays viola professionally in addition to violin."

The father-son duo began playing together in George's childhood, Edgar often writing little pieces for his son to practice.

"I wanted him to have something not as square (rhythmically) as Suzuki," says Edgar.

If you go

› What: String Theory

› Where: Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View

› When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18

› Admission: $35 Hunter members, $45 nonmembers, $10 students

› For more information: www.huntermuseum.org

 

Their String Theory concert will feature their original music, which Edgar describes as "ranging from pretty loose and fairly improvised to completely composed."

At the heart of the program will be their co-written duo commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest and Bravo! Vail in 2019, which they premiered last summer.

Edgar holds the distinction of being the only bass player to win the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize and was presented a MacArthur Award in 2002. He's a member of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival house band.

As a composer, his works have been commissioned across the country. His list of friends and musical collaborators reads like a who's who of music: Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Chris Thile.

He has an extensive discography to his credit; among those records, a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra that featured Giovanni Bottesini's Gran Duo with Joshua Bell, Meyer's Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma and Meyer's own Concerto in D for Bass.

In 2011, Edgar collaborated with cellist Ma, mandolinist Thile and fiddler Duncan for the Sony Masterworks recording "The Goat Rodeo Sessions," which won a 2012 Grammy for Best Folk Album. He says "Goat Rodeo 2" with the famed cellist is coming out in May.

He collaborated with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain to write a triple concerto for double bass, banjo and tabla, which was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. It was later recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

String Theory season ticketholders should note this special concert is outside of the regular Season 11 program and is not included in the season subscription.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

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