Laying the low notes while pushing limits

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Laying the low notes while pushing limits


They used to sit in the back ― so far back that you could barely see them there.
Hiding behind rows of other musicians, they are the double bass players going “tum-tum-tum,” laying down the low sounds for a symphonic orchestra.
But that’s not the case for “L’Orchestre de Contrebasses,” a group of six double bass players.
Created in 1981 by Christian Genat, a professor from the Conservatoire de Musique de Paris (Paris Conservatory), the other band members were plucked from symphony orchestras. They include Xavier Lugue, Leonardo Teruggi, Etienne Roumanet, Gregoire Dubruel and Yves Torchinsky, all on the double bass.
They may not sound exactly like your typical symphonic orchestra, but they try hard to sound like one.
They also venture into jazz, the blues and even tango. To further distinguish themselves they have experimented in ways to push the sounds of their instruments, using the bass to mimic an ambulance siren and chirping birds.
So what do audiences think? Despite the group’s efforts to sound like an orchestra, audiences are hardly somber and serious.
“When they played in Japan, audiences in all eight prefectures went wild,” said a manager from Yuyu Classic, the local promoter. “They are loved on the international stage, so why not in Seoul?”
So here they are, ready to play some of the most popular songs from their six albums.
Besides Seoul, they will also perform in Ulsan and Daejeon.

by Lee Min-a

L’Orchestre de Contrebasses is playing at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on Feb. 10 at 8 p.m, in Ulsan at the Hyundai Arts Center on Feb. 11, and in Daejeon at the Daejeon Culture & Arts Center on Feb. 14. Tickets range from 30,000 won ($31) to 80,000 won. For reservations, call 1588-7890. For more information, call (02) 586-2722.
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