About François Rabbath
François Rabbath has taken an incredibly
unusual course. He is without peer as a
double bass player and is one of the most
internationally distinguished string soloists.
This is all the more remarkable because he
taught himself to play the double bass and
has never had a lesson in his life.
Born in 1931 in Aleppo (Syria), at the age of 13 François Rabbath was already contributing to the income of his large family by appearing together with his siblings in the cabarets of Beirut. He moved to Paris in 1956 and earned his living as an accompanist to musicians such as Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud and Michel Legrand.
In 1963 Rabbath recorded his first solo record album which became one of the most sought after recordings of the time. From 1964 he began composing music for film and theatre. At the same time a singular solo career took off - starting in France via the music centres of Europe to the USA where he had his début in 1975 at New York's Carnegie Hall. As well as recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, he gave concerts with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Houston, Québec and Australian radio. From 1980 to 1996 François Rabbath was a member of the Paris Opera Orchestra.
As a very assiduous teacher, François Rabbath has been imparting his knowledge and skills to committed bassists round the world for over twenty years. But these are not the only instrumentalists who take part in his classes, other instrumen-
talists do too. A good number of professional musicians have taken temporary leave from their orchestras in order to discover their instrument afresh with the help of François Rabbath.
Rabbath has more recently added multimedia tutorials in the form of videos,
CD-ROMs and DVDs to his output of pedagogical print publications. Of these, the tutorial DVDs produced by the ISB President, Hans Sturm, the "Art of the Bow" and "Art of the Left Hand" are particularly distinguished and without exaggeration may be termed milestones in double bass tuition.
Despite his unparalleled career, François Rabbath has had little influence on double bass playing in German speaking and East European countries. This is presumably because of the fact that the French method of holding the bow, on which Rabbath’s extraordinary bowing technique is based, is scarcely ever employed there.
You can see videos of François Rabbath here.
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