Bottesini's followers

Bottesini's inner circle of students at the Parma Conservatory, who led a very active musical life in the years following their Master's death, organizing frequent concerts and recitals of the most avant garde type and sponsoring treks throughout the world to sites where Bottesini had or might have played.

This cult still exists in an attenuated form among American Bassists. I once attended a rehearsal of a youth orchestra in Oregon during which the young principal bassist kept telling members of his section, "Due mani! Due mani!" ("Two hands"). When I asked him why he said it, he told me it was advice from Bottesini himself. I asked him if he or any of the others spoke Italian; he said not. I asked him further if he knew what the phrase meant; he said no.

The group, of course, is cruelly harried by the Moristo.

An actual organization of Bottesini followers has proved elusive and uncertain. I uncovered evidence of a group I believe to be called the International Bottesini Society (IBS). Despite claims of extensive musical activity and an elaborate leadership scheme, repeated attempts to learn more about this organization have failed, producing only one explanation from alleged members: "It's Mike's fault."


"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (