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Edwin Barker in conversation with John Perkel

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BSO principal bass Edwin Barker has concertized in North America, Europe, and the Far East. He has performed and recorded with the BSO, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the contemporary music ensemble Collage, and is a frequent guest performer with the Boston Chamber Music Society. Barker gave the world premieres of James Yannatos’ Concerto for Contrabass and Chamber Orchestra — which was written especially for him — and of Theodore Antoniou’s Concertino for Contrabass and Chamber Orchestra. He was similarly the featured soloist in the New England premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Concerto for Double Bass and Chamber Orchestra. Barker graduated with honors in 1976 from New England Conservatory, where he studied double bass with Henry Portnoi. That same year, at age 22, while a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he was appointed principal double bass of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His other double bass teachers included Peter Mercurio, Richard Stephan, Angelo LaMariana, and David Perleman. Barker inaugurated the BSO’s 100th anniversary season with performances of Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Contrabass. Other solo engagements have included appearances at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, and major universities and conferences throughout the world, as well as concerto performances with the Boston Classical Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston and Europe. In July 1995 he was chosen by the late Sir Georg Solti to lead the bass section of the United Nations’ Musicians of the World, an ensemble made up of prominent musicians from the world’s finest orchestras. Barker is an associate professor at Boston University College of Fine Arts, where he teaches double bass, orchestral techniques, and chamber music. His other major teaching affiliations include the BSO’s Tanglewood Music Center where he is chairman of instrumental and orchestral studies, and at the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland. His solo CDs include “Three Sonatas for Double Bass”; James Yannatos’ “Variations for Solo Contrabass,” and “Concerti for Double Bass,” which includes concertos by Gunther Schuller and Theodore Antoniou.

For thirty-five years, John Perkel was a librarian for various orchestras, most recently for the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center. In 2016, he retired and initiated the Berkshire Chamber Players series at the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives. Before serving as an orchestra librarian, John was a music teacher at the Berkshire Hills Regional School District and was a psychiatric worker at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge.