This Contrabass Conversations special series is made possible by the Chicago Chamber Musicians and Brad Opland. Learn more about this fine ensemble at www.chicagochambermusic.org. This episode features music for cello and bass by Haydn and Rossini performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians Brad Opland and Gary Stucka. They perform the Haydn Divertimento in D Major and the Rossini Duetto on this installment. This performance was recorded live in 2004.
Exploring Chamber Music is a multi-part series highlighting world-class performances of chamber music featuring the double bass.
About the Artists:
Bradley Opland, Double Bass
Brad Opland began his musical studies early and by age ten knew he wanted a career in a symphony orchestra. After graduating from high school a year early, he moved to Philadelphia to continue his musical studies at The Curtis Institute of Music. One year later, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski appointed Mr. Opland to the bass section of the Minnesota Orchestra at the age of eighteen, one of the youngest musicians ever hired. Mr. Opland stayed in Minnesota through the Neville Mariner years, moving to Chicago in 1984 after Maestro Solti offered him a position in the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Opland has been a member of The Chicago Chamber Musicians since 1992.
Gary Stucka, Cello
Gary Stucka began playing the cello at the age of eight. He took his first lessons at the Park View School in Morton Grove and subsequently studied with Margaret Simpson, Harry Sturm, and Leonard Chausow. During his high school and early college years, he was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and he remembers the enlightening cello sectionals led by former principal cello Frank Miller. In his last year with the Civic, Gary received the Louis Sudler Foundation for the Musical Arts Award.
Gary continued his studies as a full scholarship student of Karl Fruh at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cello performance. He was assistant principal cello of the Grant Park Symphony and he served as principal of the Winnipeg Symphony from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, he joined the Cleveland Orchestra, where he remained until coming to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1986.
He is principal cello of the Ravinia Festival Orchestra and of the Ars Viva Chamber Orchestra. Since 1989, he has performed with the Orchestra’s assistant concertmaster David Taylor and pianist Andrea Swan in the critically acclaimed Pressenda Trio. He also has performed with the Chicago Symphony String Quartet. He continues to give recitals and often appears as soloist with numerous orchestras.
Gary has many outside interests including photography, bicycling, theater, film, and ethnic dining. His specialty of collecting historic recordings has recently gone “international,” as he has begun engineering disc-to-digital tape transfers of recordings from his collection for Biddulph Records in England. He has always enjoyed international travel and is especially fond of tours with the CSO.