Long-awaited, high value double bass made available to the Sibelius Academy students

The Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki has acquired an Italian Carcassi double bass, built in the late 1700s. The instrument will be lent for a maximum of three years to a student chosen through an application process. During the loan period, progress of studies will be monitored.

For years, the Sibelius Academy has been searching for a high-quality instrument for its double bass students. According to lecturer Lasse Lagercrantz, a double bass of this quality has not previously been available to students in Finland. The acquired instrument has formerly been used by Rinat Ibragimov, the principal double bassist of the London Symphony Orchestra.

– We worked long and hard to convince the London Symphony Orchestra board to sell this fine instrument to a music institution. The Sibelius Academy’s strong global reputation helped significantly, Lagercrantz says.

– The Carcassi will help our students to improve both as soloists and as orchestral musicians, and it will encourage them to participate in international competitions as well. This unique instrument also gives us a competitive edge: I believe that it will attract more talented double bass students, just like our other fine string instruments do. The double bass we now have in our hands is a true crown jewel – the favourite instrument of Ibragimov, who is considered one of the best double bassists in the world.

The double bass is a demonstration of skills by the Carcassi family of luthiers from Florence. In the 18th century, the Carcassi brothers Lorenzo and Tommaso built several string instruments that are of a significant value today. The double bass bears a label “Lorenzo Carcassi 1765”, but according to expert opinions and wood analysis, the instrument is more likely to be the work of Tommaso’s son Vincenzo from the late 18th century. The instrument has been repaired by Ettore Cavallini in Arezzo, Italy, in 1924.

The Carcassi landed in the United Kingdom during the 20th century. The London Symphony Orchestra acquired it for its principal double bassist Rinat Ibragimov in the late 1990s. Ibragimov used his favourite instrument in numerous concerts, awarded recordings and movie soundtracks until he left the orchestra in 2013.

In the video, the Sibelius Academy’s part-time teacher and the principal double bassist of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra Aapo Juutilainen gives a demonstration.

More information:
Instrument coordinator Mikko Pietinen
+358 50 592 5391,