Francois Rabbath (Contra-Bass) & Kate Neal (Composer)
Francois Rabbath Born in Aleppo, Syria into a musical family of six boys and three girls, Francois discovered the double bass at the age of thirteen when one of his brothers brought an instrument home and allowed him to experiment with it. When the family moved to Beirut, Lebanon he found an old copy of Edouard Nanny's Contrabass Method in a tailor shop and with some difficulty, since he read neither music nor French, began to teach himself. After nine years of work in Beirut, Francois saved enough money to move to Paris for a year. He was eager to go to the Paris Conservatory, meet with Monsieur Nanny and show him what he was able to do with the bass. When he applied at the Conservatory he was disappointed to learn that Nanny had died in 1947. He was also told that auditions were to be held in three days and that he would never have enough time to learn the required pieces. He asked for the music anyway and returned three days later to finish first among the applicants. However, his stay at the Conservatory was a brief one, since it didn't take very long to see that he was not only far ahead of the other students but of the professors as well! While in Paris he began to earn his living as an accompanist for Jacque Brel, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, Michel Legrand and others. In 1963 he made his first of many solo record albums. Although never advertised or promoted, the Phillips album Bass Ball became one of the most sought after recordings of its time. From 1964 he became active composing much music for movies and the theater. At the same time he started to play solo recitals, first in France, then throughout Europe. His American debut was in Carnegie Hall in 1975. Kate Neal Kate studied Early Music (Recorder) and Composition at the Victorian College of the Arts with Mary Finsterer, Mark Pollard and Brenton Broadstock, graduating in 1996. Kate received a NUFFIC scholarship from the Dutch Government in 1998 and moved to The Netherlands to study composition with Martijn Padding, Louis Andrieson and Gilius van Bergeijk at the Koninklijk Conservatory, and Carnatic (Sth Indian) music studies with Rafael Rainer at the Sweelink Conservatory, Amsterdam.