Maya Beiser in Films for Cello
Part of Bill Morrison: Compositions at The Museum of Modern Art
Live Performance by Maya Beiser
Films by Bill Morrison
Music by Michael Gordon & Michael Harrison
Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 8pm
MoMA | 11 West 53rd St., NYC
Tickets: $12, available starting October 1 at the main lobby information desk and www.moma.org.
Watch Maya’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert: http://bit.ly/NPRTinyDeskMaya
Read the Wall Street Journal feature on Maya’s new album Uncovered: http://bit.ly/MayaBeiserWSJ
Maya Beiser online: www.mayabeiser.com
New York, NY — “Cello goddess” (The New Yorker) Maya Beiser will perform live in Films for Cello, featuring films by Bill Morrison and music by composers Michael Gordon and Michael Harrison, on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 8pm, at MoMA. Maya’s performance is part of Bill Morrison: Compositions, The Museum of Modern Art’s comprehensive view of the filmmaker’s work at mid-career, with a full retrospective of more than two dozen shorts and feature films, along with three live film/musical performances. The evening includes Light is Calling (2004, music by Michael Gordon), Just Ancient Loops (2012, music by Michael Harrison), and the New York premiere of All Vows with live music (2013, music by Michael Gordon).
Michael Gordon’s All Vows is a reimagination of Kol Nidre, the central prayer of the Yom Kippur service. The music was commissioned for Maya in 2006, through the generosity of the Maria and Robert A. Skirnick Fund for New Works at Carnegie Hall. Of his film for All Vows, Bill Morrison says, “As in my previous work with Michael [Gordon], the film highlights the fragile and corporeal nature of ancient filmstock – the implication of an unknowable future as reflected through a dissolving historic document.”
Just Ancient Loops, also created for Maya Beiser, is a 25-minute piece by Michael Harrison that unveils every aspect of the cello – from its most glorious and mysterious harmonics to earthy, rhythmic pizzicatos. Morrison’s film for the piece makes use of archival footage, chemical processes and animation to present a unique view of the heavens. Just Ancient Loops is the centerpiece of Maya’s album with Michael Harrison, Time Loops, which was chosen as one of NPR’s top 10 recordings of 2012.
Light is Calling was written by Michael Gordon in his studio on Desbrosses Street in New York during the days and months after September 11, 2001. Bill Morrison’s film for the piece was created by reprinting and re-editing a scene from the black and white 1926 film, The Bells.
Called “one of the most adventurous American filmmakers” (Variety), Bill Morrison‘s films often combine archival film material set to contemporary music. He has collaborated with some of the most influential composers of our time, including John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Gavin Bryars, Dave Douglas, Richard Einhorn, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Henryk Gørecki, Bill Frisell, Vijay Iyer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Steve Reich, among many others.
Maya Beiser has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument’s boundaries. The Boston Globe declares, “With virtuoso chops, rock-star charisma, and an appetite for pushing her instrument to the edge of avant-garde adventurousness, Maya Beiser is the post-modern diva of the cello.” Her latest album, Uncovered, is a collection of re-imagined and re-contextualized classic rock, in stunning performances by Maya. These “uncovers” – in new arrangements by composer Evan Ziporyn – evoke the unprecedented power of the music of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Janis Joplin, Howlin’ Wolf, King Crimson, Muddy Waters, and AC/DC as musical masterpieces. The album was in the top 10 on the Billboard Classical Chart upon release in August 2014. The San Francisco Chronicle raved, “With this electrifying disc, the avant-garde cello virtuoso Maya Beiser transforms herself into something of a rock ’n’ roll diva.” (Review copies available upon request.)
“Maya Beiser has etched a bold career path that marries classical to rock, starched collars to casual dress, and tradition to unorthodoxy,” reports AllMusic.com. Throughout her adventurous and versatile career she has reimagined the concert experience, creating new music for the cello, commissioning and performing many works written for her by today’s leading composers. She has collaborated with composers Tan Dun, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Reich, David Lang, Louis Andriessen, and Mark O’Connor, among many others. A featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages, Maya appeared as soloist at the Sydney Opera House, New York’s Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and BAM, London’s Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, and South Bank Center, and the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan. In 2011, Maya was invited to present at the exclusive TED conference. Her TEDtalk performance has been watched by close to a million people and translated to 32 languages.
Maya has conceived, performed and produced her critically acclaimed multimedia concerts, including World To Come, which premiered as part of the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall; Almost Human, a collaboration with visual artist Shirin Neshat; and Provenance, which forms the basis of her best selling album. Top New York critics have consistently chosen her Carnegie Hall concerts on their “Best Of The Year” lists. Maya’s 2012 production, Elsewhere: A CelloOpera, premiered at Carolina Performing Arts followed by a sold-out run at the BAM Next Wave Festival. Elsewhere is an imaginative retelling of the Biblical legend of Lot’s wife, created by Maya with director Robert Woodruff. Maya’s latest project All Vows explores the dichotomy between the physical, external world we inhabit and the inner landscape of our secret selves. It premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in March 2014 and features the music from Uncovered plus works by Michael Gordon and Michael Harrison, both with original film by Bill Morrison, as well as music by Glenn Kotche, David T. Little, and Mohammed Fairouz.
Highlights of Maya Beiser’s recent US tours include performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Mondavi Performing Arts Center, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Celebrity Series in Boston and International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven. Other recent performances include major venues and festivals in Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Torino, Tokyo, Taipei, Athens, Mexico City and Bogota. She has appeared with many of the world’s top orchestras performing new works for the cello including the St. Paul Camber Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, China Philharmonic, and Shanghai Philharmonic among many others.
Maya’s vast discography, released on Sony Classical, Nonesuch, Koch (now E1) Innova and Cantaloupe labels, include five solo albums and many studio recordings and film music collaborations. Her 2010 album Provenance topped the classical and world music charts on both Amazon and iTunes. Collaborating with renowned film composer James Newton Howard, Maya is the featured soloist on several film’s soundtracks including M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters, Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman and M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth.
Raised on a kibbutz in the Galilee Mountains in Israel by her French mother and Argentinean father, Maya Beiser is a graduate of Yale University. Her major teachers were Aldo Parisot, Uzi Weizel, Alexander Schneider, and Isaac Stern. Maya was the founding cellist of the new music ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
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