Meet Jane Little: The Musician Who Played with the Same Orchestra for 71 Straight Years, a World Record

Last May, when Jane Lit­tle died at the age of 87, a world record came to an end.

Stand­ing only 4′11″ and weigh­ing only 98 pounds, Lit­tle began play­ing a dou­ble bass in the Atlanta Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra in 1945, at the age of 16. And she con­tin­ued play­ing that bass for the orches­tra for the next 71 years, giv­ing her the longest pro­fes­sion­al tenure with the same orches­tra. Fit­ting­ly, she died onstage, col­laps­ing dur­ing an encore per­for­mance of ‘There’s No Busi­ness Like Show Busi­ness.’

This week, The New York­er has a short pro­file on Jane Lit­tle and an accom­pa­ny­ing video, which you can watch above. It’s enti­tled “The Longest Short­est Dou­ble Bassist.”

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Neu­ro­science of Bass: New Study Explains Why Bass Instru­ments Are Fun­da­men­tal to Music

Hear Iso­lat­ed Tracks From Five Great Rock Bassists: McCart­ney, Sting, Dea­con, Jones & Lee

Musi­cians Play Bach on the Octo­bass, the Gar­gan­tu­an String Instru­ment Invent­ed in 1850

The Sto­ry of the Bass: New Video Gives Us 500 Years of Music His­to­ry in 8 Min­utes

100 Great Bass Riffs Played in One Epic Take: Cov­ers 60 Years of Rock, Jazz and R&B


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.