Bertram Turetzky is the key figure in the modern renaissance of the contrabass. Since 1955, more than 300 new works have been written for, performed by, and recorded by him, making him the most frequently recorded contrabass soloist in America. Bertram Turetzky is one of the few performers in all of music history to have single-handedly created a large and impressive repertory of music for his instrument.
His first LP, Recital of New Music (1964), was the first recorded collection of contemporary music for the bass. He is the author of The Contemporary Contrabass (1974), a book outlining the new techniques he himself largely developed. He is currently working on his long-awaited autobiography.
"Turetzky is a leading exponent of the double bass as a solo instrument and has extended an already noteworthy classcial technique to include a large repertory of new bowings, harmonics, pizzicatos, glissandos, and, especially, percussive effects from the use of his hands, fingers, and knuckles on various parts of the body of the instrument." - The New Grove Dictionary of American Music
"Turetzky is a stunning executant, like a great basso cantante, his double bass speaks purely and with an easy resonance at the softest dynamic levels. Even his harmonics never sound gritty. And the resourcefulness with which he strives for unlikely colors and textures seems virtually unlimited." - New York Times
"Turetzky is a virtuoso of a caliber unsurpassed by any other practitioner of his instrument today." - Chicago Daily News
Bertram Turetzky (b. 1933) is one of the best known solo and chamber performers in the country as well as one of the busiest. He functions as teacher (on the faculty of the Hartt College of Music, University of Hartford), director (the Hartt Chamber Players, assistant director of the Hartt Collegium Musicum), and editor (editor-in-chief of the Music for Double Bass series, New York) in addition to fulfilling a demanding schedule as performer.
He has been a featured soloist at concerts and festivals of all kinds - the "Music in Our Time" series in New York; the ONCE festival at Ann Arbor; programs for ACA, ISCM, and the Composers’ Laboratory; the American music Festival of radio stations WNYC and WBAI; at the Living Theatre - and at leading colleges and universities in the east and midwest, including Columbia, Yale, Smith College, Wesleyan, Bennington, the Universities of Illinois, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and so on.
Performed by Jerome Rotherberg (voice), Jean-Charles Francçois, percussion and Bertram Turetzky (bass). Multitrack recording. Recorded: circa 1985. Originally produced as a private cassette
"My chief life’s labor," he says, " has been to do something about the problem of repertoire for my instrument, and I have approached this problem from two sides, the first involving research in our musical heritage from the 18th and 19th centuries and the second involving discovery and commission of new works by the composers of own time. The result so far is that the repertoire as I knew it seven years ago has been tripled."
- Bertram Turetzky, "Contrabassist," in a Recital of New Music, Advance FGR-1, 1964.
- Bertram Turetzky, The Virtuoso Double Bass, Medea Records, 1966.
- Music by Donald Erb, In No Strange Land, Nonesuch Records, 1968.
- Bertram Turetzky, The New World of Sound, Ars Nova, 1969.
- Bertram Turetzky, The Contemporary Contrabass, Music of John Cage, Ben Johnson, and Pauline Oliveros, Nonesuch Records, 1969-70.
- Five Poems for Narrator and 8 Instruments, by Netty Simons, CRI Records, 1973.
- Gorge, by Phil Winsor, at Mills College, Oakland, funded by a Ford Foundation Grant, 1973.
- Dragonetti Lives, Takoma Records, 1975.
- Strings, Standard School Broadcast: Music Makers, Chevron Research Company, 1975.
- Spectra, by Feiciano, CRI, 1975.
- Anthology of American Music, Inc., NW 254 Stereo, recorded December 4, 1977, released November 1978.
- Witold Szalonek Symphonia Concertante, solo contrabass and orchestra, Polska Musykna, 1975.
- Found Objects II, by Arthur Custer, Serenus, 1976.
- Music by Donald Erb, J.M Mestres-Quadreny, Will Ogden, Netty Simons, Desto DC7128, 1976.
- Tree Music (principal soloist), Logs and Logs XVI, by Paul Chihara, CRI SD 269, 1976.
- The Contemporary Contrabass, Nonesuch, 1976.
- New Music for Contrabass, compositions by Charles Mingus, Boguslaw Schaffer, Joseph Julian, Bertram Turetzky and Donald Erb, Finnadar SR 9105, 1976.
- Piece for Four, by Olly Wilson, CRI SD 264, 1976.
- Trio for Two, by Donald Erb, and Points-Lines-Circles, by Dorrance Stalvey, ARS NOVA AN-1008, 1976.
- Modules, by Richard Moryl, Serenus, 1976.
- Inflections I, by Robert Hall Lewis (for solo contrabass), on New Music for Virtuoso/2, New World Records, Recorded
- ABC, Works by Hoffman, Turetzky, Mingus, and McCartney-Lennon, Sydney, AUSTRALIA, August 5, 1978.
- ABC, with Nancy Turetzky, recorded live, NSW Conservatorium, Sydney, AUSTRALIA, August 7, 1978.
- ABC, Concerto for Bass and Jazz Band, by Donald Hannah, Brian May, Conductor, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, August 8, 1978.
- Playback, by Barry Cunyngham, The University of Melbourne, for Move Records, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, August 9, 1978.
- Trio for Violin, Contrabass & Piano, by Leonid Hrabovsky, on 20th Century Ukrainian Violin Music 1987 cassette recording CYFP 2032 by Yevshan Corporation, Canada, Library of Congress Card no. 78-7509959 (first recorded in 1964, 1975 on ORION-ORS 79331), First western recording of music by Ukrainian composer Leonid Hrabovsky, recorded September 1978, released June 1979.
What Creativity Means: Bertram Turetzky
- Celestial Variations on Charles Ives' Serenity (1919), performed by Turetzky on 16-track tape, summer 1979. (Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Grant), 1979.
- A Different View, Turetzky (solo contrabass). Turetzky, contrabass, LP, Folkways Records, New York City, 1982.
- Turetzky Featured Soloist in Phil Winsor's Gorge, written for Turetzky, Brewster Records, 1982.
- Turetzky settings and performance of selections from Sherley Anne Williams, Some Sweet Angel Chile, Blues Economique Records, September 25, 1984.
- Turetzky settings and performance of Jerome Rothenberg's, Poland 1931 and Dada Suite, Blues Economique Records, September 25, 1984.
- Intersections, Bertram Turetzky and Vinny Golia, 9 Winds Label, NWCD0129 DDD, 1990.
- San Diego Symphony Ensemble performing Roger Reynolds' Whispers Out of Time and Transfigured Wind, New World Records, 1990.
- Ricercar a' 3, by Robert Erickson for solo contrabass, for CRI Records, November 1991.
- of Stuart Saunders Smith's' Notebook on CD titled Crux, O.O. Discs, USA, 1992.
- Second Avenue Klezmer Ensemble, Traditions and Transitions Second Avenue Productions, San Diego, 1992.
- Stuart Saunders Smith's' Notebook on CD titled Crux, O.O. Discs, USA, 1992.
- SONOR Ensemble of the University of California, San Diego, CRI CD 652, 1993.
- Compositions and Improvisations by Bertram Turetzky, Studio 101, 9 Winds Records, 1993.
- Turetzky's Pacific Parable, winner of San Diego Music Award, Studio 101, Orphan Records, June 24, 1993.
- Ais by Iannis Xenakis, Neuma Records, 1994.
- Inflections I by Robert Hall Lewis, New World Records 80541-2, 1998.
- Logs by Paul Chihara, CRI CD 815, 1999.
- Three Pieces for Double Bass Alone, by Donald Erb, on CD titled Suddenly It's Evening, CRI CD 857, 1999.
Photo Co Broerse
- The Contemporary Contrabass, by Bertram Turetzky. The New Instrumentation, Vol. I, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1974.
- The Avant Garde Flute by Thomas Howell. The New Instrumentation, Vol. II, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1975.
- The Modern Trombone by Stuart Dempster, The New Instrumentation, Vol. III, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1975.
- New Directions for Clarinet by Philip Rehfeldt. The New Instrumentation, Vol. IV, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1976.
- The Contemporary Guitar, by John Schneider. The New Instrumentation, Vol. V, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1982.
- Writing for Pedal Harp, by Lou Anne Neil. The New Instrumentation, Vol. VI, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs, Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1985.
Contemporary Contrabass, by Bertram Turetzky. The New
Instrumentation, Vol. VII, co-edited by Turetzky and Barney Childs,
Berkeley: The University of California Press, Second Edition, Revised,