Throughout a lifetime of performing and composing, Edgar Meyer has turned the double bass into a modern virtuoso instrument that is equally at home in classical music and in the American vernacular. In 1994, Meyer became the first bassist to win the Avery Fisher Prize. He is also a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award and three Grammy Awards. Nonesuch released the first recording collaboration by Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile in February 2008, followed by the Grammy-winning Bass & Mandolin in 2014, and their Bach Trios album with Yo-Yo Ma in 2017.
Nonesuch Records releases an album of Bach works recorded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and bassist Edgar Meyer, Bach Trios, on April 7, 2017, with the two-LP vinyl edition due April 21. The album comprises works by J.S. Bach originally written for keyboard instruments, plus one sonata for viola da gamba. In 2011, Ma, Thile, and Meyer—along with Stuart Duncan—collaborated on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, which won two Grammy Awards.
Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer's first recording together was the 1996 album Appalachia Waltz, which also featured fiddler Mark O'Connor; that album was followed by Appalachian Journey, also with O'Connor, in 2000. Meyer and Thile also began playing together nearly two decades ago, and first performed live as a duo in 2003. They have made two duo albums, 2008's Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile and the Grammy–winning 2014 record Bass & Mandolin.
Thile then joined Meyer on Ma's 2008 holiday album, Songs of Joy and Peace, before the trio reunited, along with Stuart Duncan, for The Goat Rodeo Sessions, an album of original tunes drawing from the musicians' backgrounds in bluegrass, classical, and American roots music. The Goat Rodeo Session debuted at number twenty-three on the Billboard 200 chart and number one on the classical and classical crossover charts, as well as number one on the bluegrass chart, where it stayed for eleven weeks. The album was also critically praised, with the Los Angeles Times calling it "haunting, invigorating, often breathtaking."
As Ma told Billboard at that time: "How often do you work with people who are master virtuosos and also master improvisers and composers, who know at least two musical traditions unbelievably well?" He continued, "It's just extraordinary when you have people who can actually show on their instruments what they're thinking at any moment, without a delay. As soon as you think it, it gets transferred in your neuromusculature immediately into sound."
Throughout a lifetime of performing and composing, Edgar Meyer has turned the double bass into a modern virtuoso instrument that is equally at home in classical music and in the American vernacular. In 1994, Meyer became the first bassist to win the Avery Fisher Prize. He is also a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award and five Grammy Awards. Meyer has found devoted audiences through a vast range of projects, from his own double bass concertos that he continues to perform regularly to recital collaborations with Emanuel Ax and Amy Dorfman and performance and recording projects with artists including Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Mark O'Connor, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Mike Marshall, and many others. The New Yorker calls him "the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument."