Last week we were deeply saddened to receive the news of the death of our beloved Principal Emeritus Double Bass, Rinat Ibragimov.
A superb musician, inspirational teacher and wonderful colleague, Rinat suffered a major stroke in 2013 and had been unable to play, but had been a regular presence at LSO concerts and continued to teach at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. News of his passing prompted a flood of tributes from across the music world and beyond, with many only knowing of him through his extraordinary and inspirational performances of the double bass concerto repertoire on our YouTube channel.
Here, his Double Bass section colleagues provide their own personal tributes to this wonderful musician.
Colin Paris, Co-Principal
It was my absolute privilege and pleasure to have shared a stand with Rinat for 20 years, an experience I will never forget and always cherish. An amazing world class musician, virtuoso in both the orchestral and solo repertoires, an expert in Baroque music, which was a great love of his, and a world-renowned professor. Playing alongside him was the equivalent of having a masterclass every day as I learnt so much from him which benefited both my own playing and my abilities as a teacher and I will be forever grateful to him. He was also a wonderfully warm, sensitive and kind person, always making time to help his students and friends despite his incredibly busy schedule. Rinat had a wonderful sense of humour too and we shared many funny moments both on and off the platform and I’m very proud to have called him one of my closest friends. He was a devoted family man and devoutly religious and will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him or whose lives were touched by him.
A respected principal and a leading interpreter of the solo Double Bass repertoire, Rinat was among the most serious and dedicated of musical artists. He was devoutly religious, adhering to strict principles and practices. He was also one of the warmest, funniest and most generous people I have ever met. This combination of disciplines and attributes made for a fascinating and inspirational character. On so many occasions his reaction to a situation made me wish that I was a bigger person. That was when we weren’t involved in childish pranks or banter (which was fairly often)! To have been associated with Rinat was a great honour. To have considered myself to be a friend of his, even more so.
For me, Rinat was not only a world-class musician but also a teacher, mentor, colleague and a close friend. He was extremely warm and friendly, funny and compassionate. With Rinat, it was never boring on stage or off stage. He was always ready for an adventure whether it was hunting a double bass bow in deepest Harlem or flying in as an emergency replacement as a soloist for the Lapland Chamber Orchestra. He had the exceptional ability to laugh at himself which is not very common in the competitive world of classical music. One could write a whole book about his musical thoughts but this piece of advice I try to implement every day: "Every note has to resonate regardless of the actual written dynamic markings." I miss him a lot. I consider it an honor and a privilege to have known him and sharing so many experiences together.
I have many great memories of playing in the LSO with Rinat. Even though our paths never crossed as Members, we played many fantastic concerts together whilst I was freelancing and I was even lucky enough to share a stand with him on occasion during my trial. He was an extremely kind, warm and generous man who always went above and beyond for everyone, especially young bass players early on in their careers. I could always count on him for support and inspiration and he was a major influence in getting me to where I am today. For someone of such stature he was incredibly modest and always made time for those who needed it most. Even though his masterful skill, musicianship and virtuosity transcended the bass world, it is the amazing human being he was, that I will remember above all. I’ll miss you Rinat!
Rinat has been my favourite double bassist since I started playing. Before moving to London I could only be amazed by the technical skills and musicianship that he showed in his YouTube videos. Back then, I could have never imagined that I would study with him one day. When I moved to London I discovered more about Rinat than just his playing. He was an amazing person – humble, gentle, positive and a fantastic teacher; demanding, ambitious and patient. I consider myself very lucky for having had the chance of being his helper at the Guildhall School for two years and to really have had the chance to talk and spend time with him. His love for music and the double bass was a lesson in humility and something that motivates not only me but all his students. We all hope that we can achieve half of what he did. You’ll be missed, Rinat!
Rinat was a huge musical influence on my life since our first meeting during a masterclass in 1998. His words of positive encouragement will always stay with me and I cherish the many years we spent playing together in the orchestra. I feel so privileged to have joined an orchestra which had such an incredible musician and warm-hearted person in Rinat as its Principal Bass. He had an amazing ability to explore music and push its boundaries, whether that was for a new style of playing, a new bowing approach or interpretation. This passion and freshness was completely inspiring and infectious. He somehow managed all this with an almost youthful cheekiness which made everything fun. He had a very holistic view of music and bass playing. For example, for many years we used to discuss how to play the bass with a more relaxed approach. One unusual technique was by punching me on the arm and getting me to punch him back – but using the right muscles, with the right swing and a good soft thud without tension. For some reason this was an incredible bowing lesson!! He was much more than an outstanding musician, more than just a bass player – he was also a sincere and fun friend and colleague.
Rinat was a wonderful performer and an inspirational teacher, one of the greatest, but it is as a friend I will miss him most. Rinat had the ability to instil a strong belief in people and I will always be grateful for his belief. Whether it was watching him teach, making videos with him, or watching him in sessions, he inspired such admiration.
Nic Worters, former LSO Double Bass
Rinat was a very special man. He was an extraordinary musician and double-bassist and the kindest and most generous person I've ever met. I can still remember his audition some twenty-five years ago; his playing was superb and we were all mesmerised. During his trial the section felt that he wasn't saying enough so we asked him to say a little more... Rinat then began to share his wonderful musicianship with us and I feel privileged to have worked with him in the bass section for so many years. Although quiet and thoughtful by nature he was also funny and playful. On a journey home from Newcastle with four of us in the car we stopped to get fuel and a coffee. When we set off again Rinat was driving. We were soon overtaking everything in sight and Rinat, very happy that he'd finally been allowed to drive, was singing loudly in Russian, his mobile phone in one hand and an ice-cream in the other. He was an inspiration to everyone he worked with. He will be much missed.
Photos by Angela Barnes