Wednesday, 21 November 2018


Giovanni Bottesini (the "Paganini of the
Double Bass") may have met his match
in Rinat Ibragimov. Listen below to the
Russian bassist and his violinist daughter
Alina perform the virtuosic Gran Duo.
Just one watch of former London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) Principal Bass (now Emeritus) Rinat Ibragimov's Gran Duo by the "Paganini of the Double Bass" Giovanni Bottesini (the infamous 19th century virtuoso[1]) would leave the unsuspecting viewer convinced the Russian native was born with his signature 300-year old double bass between his knees.

Not quite so - the atypical path that would lead the unrivalled musician to his beloved Albani would begin with another instrument altogether: the cello.

For nearly a decade, Ibragimov practiced on the bass' smaller cousin, yet ultimately found himself unsatisfied with the instrument. Citing poor technique, an inadequate teacher and the challenge to truly stand out from the competition (due to the over representation of the cello) as just three of many reasons to lay down his bow, the final straw which ultimately led to the switch to the double bass came with the recommendation of his fellow pupils (and perhaps even his teacher himself!)

Ibragimov would heed that advice, in effect making the most fortuitous decision of his lengthy and highly respected career. The next time the erudite musician would hold a bow in his hand, it would be gliding over the strings of a d-bass under the tutelage of Gregory Favorsky at the Ippolitov-Ivanov College.

The symbiotic relationship between an adept professor and a pupil finally working within his true element proved electric: Ibragimov over-excelled on the instrument, and within a short time frame, he was inducted into the esteemed ranks of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire where he would study under the legendary bassist Evgeny Kolosov, whilst also studying the art of conducting under Dmitri Kitaenko. A series of accolades would soon follow for the highly skilled musician, including first prizes in the All-Union Double Bass Competition in 1984 and in the Giovanni Bottesini International Competition in Parma, Italy, in 1989, not withstanding his earning of a coveted spot as bassist for Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Ballet and Opera (from 1983-1997.)

Rinat would join the London Symphony Orchestra as Principal Double Bassist in 1998 under Sir Colin Davis, a position he would hold for some 15 years, concurrently holding tenure at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the heart of the city where he taught lessons on the instrument on his own 300 year old Albini - a generous gift bestowed upon him by his stand partner in Russia during his tenure with the Bolshoi Ballet.

A stroke suffered in 2014 would effectively end Rinat's performing career, however he continues, on occasion, to teach at Guildhall.

Listen below to Rinat Ibragimov and daughter Alina[2] perform the exquisite Gran Duo of Giovanni Bottesini (the "Paganini of the Double Bass.") Grace Mo performs on piano:


[1]]Known globally as the 19th century "Paganini of the Double Bass," Lombardy-born Giovanni Bottesini was known for unparalleled virtuosity on the instrument. He was a composer of numerous, masterful concerti, opera, and fantasies - his adaptations of Vincenzo Bellini's Lucia di Lammeroor, I puritani and Beatrice di Tenda remain exceptional examples of such virtuosity. Bottesini likewise excelled in the field of conducting, holding a post at the Théâtre des Italiens in Paris from 1855 to 1857. His 1716 Carlo Antonio Testore, which Bottesini had converted from a four-sting to three (citing greater resonance) is now in the posession of a private collector in Japan.  

[2]Rinat's daughter, Alina Ibragimova, on violin, studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, where her mother holds tenure. She would perform Bach under Menuhin's baton in 1998, and later at the maestro's funeral. She has held an impressive career and earned many accolades throughout, including being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2016 for her services to music. Alina is the wife of U.K. music journalist, author and critic Tom Service.

Bonus videos (concerti), Catherine Edwards on piano:

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf:

Jan Křtitel Vaňhal:

- Rose.

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