Double bass master’s student wins grand prize at American String Teachers Association competition

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 19:56

Denton, TEXAS (UNT) – A UNT College of Music master’s student recently became only the fourth double bass player in the history of the American String Teachers Association national competition to win the grand prize, capping a semester of competition wins.

In March, Heran Yang placed fourth in the San Antonio Tuesday Musical Club’s Young Artists Competition and won first place at the Lewisville Lake Symphony’s inaugural International Competition. The prize for the symphony win includes a concerto performance with the group in September. The April grand prize at the ASTA competition is significant because Yang was competing against other instruments that typically win – the violin, cello, harp and guitar.

“It’s hard for a bassist to compete against the other string instruments – and especially get a prize in this kind of big, national competition,” said Yang, who comes from a family of bass players and has been playing since he was 10. “Most people still have the misconception that the double bass cannot play well as a solo instrument. In my opinion, there is no difference between the double bass and other instruments. We have a lot of good musicians in the bass world; we just need more attention and chances from the music world.”

Yang hopes to graduate in May 2014. He wants to teach so he can share what he has learned from his professors at UNT and continue to promote the double bass as a solo instrument.

“I want more people to attend double bass concerts and masterclasses,” Yang said. “I’m also working on an ensemble project and our first performance will be next summer in China.”

He credits Professor of Double Bass Jeffrey Bradetich with helping to develop both his skills and his love of the instrument by teaching in a way that complements Yang’s style rather than trying to make the student conform to someone else’s standards. Bradetich has been supportive and a good advisor, said Yang.

Bradetich notes that teaching Yang has also been a pleasure.

“He is innately gifted as an expressive musician and is on the cutting edge of exploring the expressive capabilities of the double bass as a solo instrument,” Bradetich said of Yang. “He has a very personal voice and is a bit of a showman, as well!”

Upcoming event: Yang will be featured as a soloist in concert with the Lewisville Lake Symphony at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20. The program includes Nine Variants on Paganini by Frank Proto and Symphony No. 40 in G Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. More information can be found at the Lewisville Lake Symphony website:

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