The 1611 Amati Double Bass which was presented to Gary Karr by Koussevitzky’s widow in 1962 has been examined by an international panel of experts. With the help of a dendrochronologist, their conclusion is now that the bass is probably a late 18th century instrument. (1775-90) “The spruce tree harvested to eventually construct the double bass likely came from the treeline Alpine area of western Austria, not too far from Obergurgl at the Italian border. Our results demonstrate that the double bass was not made by the Amati Brothers, but likely by French luthiers in the late 18th Century.” HENRI D. GRISSINO-MAYER
This is the Bass Gary Karr performed on for over 40 years. Now referred to as the Karr-Koussevitzky Bass rather than Amati; the bass has been generously gifted to the International Society of Bassists - the society he helped found.
(To read a fuller report see the ISB magazine "Bass World" September / November 2005.)
Sergei Koussevitzky (1874–1951) was aged fourteen when he received a scholarship to the Musico-Dramatic Institute in Moscow. His career started as a double bass player by joining the Bolshoi Theatre orchestra at the age of twenty and succeeding his teacher as the principal bassist. He wrote his popular concerto in 1902 performing it in Moscow and Berlin on this bass. In 1908 he made his debut as a conductor in Berlin and with his wife, formed an orchestra that Koussevitzky conducted until 1918. Leaving Soviet Russia (1920), he stayed mainly in Paris until settling in the United States. Koussevitzky is best known as conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1924–49) and noted for performing the works of contemporary composers including about 100 premieres.