“Through the renewal experience, I was very fortunate to gain proficiency in the German bow style of playing double bass, making my ability to switch between French and German bow very natural. I am forever grateful to the Arts Council for this amazing experience!”
An internationally renowned double bassist, soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and educator, Ju-Fang Liu was a recipient of her first Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship in 2007, which she used to create her first solo album. For her most recent fellowship, Liu traveled to Germany to learn a German bow method for playing double bass. While in Germany, she visited the WDR Sinfonieorchester Kӧln in Cologne, one of Indianapolis’ sister cities.
During her fellowship, Liu was able to take lessons with many principal players in the Berlin Philharmonic, WDR Sinfonieorchester Kӧln, and Dresden Philharmonic. Pursuit of the German Bow also had her visiting several of the most prominent German bow makers in Europe: Bernd Dӧlling, F. Gunter Hoyer, and H.R. Pfretzschner. Her time in Germany allowed Liu to become fully proficient in the German bow method of playing and an altogether more capable musician. As she says, “Personally, I felt so inspired and totally renewed after having been soaked in the cultural experience of Europe. It had a lifetime impact, no doubt. Classical music now has a whole new meaning for me. For example, I would probably never have understood Wagner had I not visited his castle in Neuschwanstein.”
Not only did the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship provide time and space for Liu to become a better double bassist, her new knowledge of German bow playing has reduced the muscle stiffness she suffers in her personal and professional life. Having the option to transition styles benefits her heavy workload of teaching, playing in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, recording, and practicing. For Liu, “The lasting effects of this fellowship are definitely life changing in many ways.”