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American double bassist Robert Black, founder and member of Bang on a Can-Allstars, has died of cancer.

American double bassist Robert Black, a member of the Bang on a Can All-stars chamber ensemble, died yesterday, 22 June 2023, of colon cancer metastasizing to his brain, according to the British magazine The Strad, which specialises in classical music for stringed instruments.

Born in Denver (Colorado) in 1956, Black studied double bass with Gary Karr and in 1992 became a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the chamber ensemble promoted by Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe, the trio of composers who had founded the Bang on a Can organisation five years earlier. Robert Black was also the driving force behind First Fridays with Robert Black, a series of virtual mini-concerts in which every first Friday of the month he presented new music for double bass, streamed from his studio in Hartford, Connecticut. Black served for many years as president of the International Society of Bassists founded by his teacher Gary Karr, and commissioned works for double bass from such composers as Philip Glass, John Luther Adams, Carman Moore, Joan Tower, Phil Niblock, Nick Dunston, Žibuolkė Martinaitytė, Krists Auznieks, Jakhongir Shukurov and Daniel Sabzghabaei. Black also founded and directed the Robert Black Foundation Trust, a non-profit organisation whose aim is to support contemporary musical artistic activities.

© Photograph by Stephanie Berger downloaded from Robert Black’s website.