In Memory of Robert Black: An Extraordinary Double Bass Performer

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of the legendary Robert Black, an extraordinary double bass performer, recording artist, and influential educator who passed away at the age of 67 from cancer.

With Jason Heath · San Francisco, CA

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of the legendary Robert Black, an extraordinary double bass performer, recording artist, and influential educator who passed away at the age of 67 from cancer. The world has lost a true musical genius who left an indelible mark on the global music industry.

Robert was a true champion of new music, and his passion for it led him to collaborate with composers, musicians, dancers, artists, and actors from all over the world. His unique and innovative approach to music made him a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, where he showcased his exceptional talent and advocacy for new music.

In addition to his work with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Robert also chaired the International Society of Bassists’ composition competition for many years, which allowed him to commission works for the bass from some of the most renowned music artists in the world. His extensive solo recordings include “Philip Glass: Bass Partita and Poetry” (Orange Mountain Music), “Possessed, Modern American Bass,” “The Bass Music of Christian Wolff,” “Giacinto Scelsi,” and “State of the Bass,” which showcased his incredible talent and musical range.

However, Robert’s influence extended beyond his recordings and performances. He founded and directed the Robert Black Foundation Trust, a not-for-profit organization that supports contemporary musical arts activities in all possible manifestations. His dedication to his craft and the music industry was truly remarkable, and his passing has left a tremendous void that will be felt for years to come.

Robert was a student of the renowned Gary Karr, and he went on to become a professor of double bass and instrumental music at the Hartt School of Music, where he taught for many years. His students hold influential positions in the music industry today, a testament to his exceptional teaching skills and passion for music.

The worldwide double bass family has lost one of its most talented and influential members. Robert’s passing is a great loss to the music industry, and he will be dearly missed by his fans, friends, and colleagues. However, his incredible legacy will continue to inspire future generations of musicians for years to come.

Read more about Robert’s life in his The New York Times obituary.

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