About Robert Black
Double bassist, electric bassist, and educator Robert Black is best known as a founder and member of the New York avant-garde ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars. He is notable for his facility in moving between the traditional and avant-garde spheres in classical music, and in cultivating cross-genre collaborations as well.
Black was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 16, 1956. He studied the double bass with the prominent classical player Gary Karr, the founder of the International Society of Bassists; Black went on to serve on that organization's board of directors for ten years. His credits in the traditional classical world include appearances with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Ciompi String Quartet, the Miami String Quartet, as well as ensembles at several U.S. summer music festivals. He has often given recitals at festivals abroad, including the Colombo-Catalan Festival in Medellin, Colombia, the Takefu International Music Festival in Japan, and the Festival de Eleazar Carvalho, Fortaleaza, Brazil, where his ongoing contribution over more than two decades earned him the award of Comendador - Mérito Cultural e Artistico from the Educational, Cultural, and Artistic Elezar de Carvalho.
Black co-founded the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 1992, an electric-instrument offshoot of the New York avant-garde ensemble Bang on a Can, and has frequently performed with that group. He has also pursued numerous collaborations on his own, with musicians ranging from Elliott Carter to John Cage to jazz pianist Paquito d'Rivera. Among his recordings is Modern American Bass, a standard collection of 20th century American double bass repertory. He has also recorded for the New World, Mode, and Cantaloupe labels. In 2019, Black released The Not-Doings of an Insomniac, a new work he commissioned from Philip Glass, on the latter's Orange Mountain Music label.
Black teaches at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, where he lives. He has also taught at the Manhattan College of Music. ~ James Manheim
BORNApril 28, 1950