Matt Haimovitz’s Overtures to Bach on PENTATONE Oxingale ~ Artist of the Season

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Philip Glass   Du Yun   Vijay Iyer

Roberto Sierra   David Sanford   Luna Pearl Woolf






For Immediate Release, August 1, 2016 … Matt Haimovitz’s continuously-evolving and intense engagement with the Bach Cello Suites reaches a new zenith with Overtures to Bach, six new commissions that anticipate and reflect each of the cello suites. The new overtures expand upon the multitude of spiritual, cross-cultural, and vernacular references found in the Bach, building a bridge from the master’s time to our own. Overtures to Bach, released internationally on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series in August, follows the 2015 release of Haimovitz’s profound new interpretation of the Bach Suites, inspired and informed by an authoritative manuscript by Bach’s second wife and performed on period instruments.


“I’ve been playing and thinking about the Bach Cello Suites for over three decades,” says Haimovitz, “and with these new commissions – a culminating moment in my relationship with the Suites – I feel like I’m giving back to Bach. I’ve asked six composers, whom I admire so much, to engage with his music. It’s my form of time travel – going back into the mind of Bach through the compositional process of these composers today.”


Overtures to Bach pairs each of the new works with the Prélude, newly recorded here, from the Suite it introduces. Philip Glass simply and eloquently prepares the audience for the first Suite with his Overture, encouraging an open frame of mind. For the second suite, Du Yun creates a heartbreaking lament in The Veronica, referencing a Russian Orthodox prayer for the dead, Serbian chant, and central European gypsy fiddle music. Vijay Iyer’s Run responds to Bach’s third suite with infectious energy and kinesthetic rhythms that celebrate the natural resonance of the instrument as well as the composer’s jazz roots. Then, Roberto Sierra’s La memoria plays on our memory of Bach’s Suite IV, referencing motivic fragments while creating a kaleidoscopic musical perspective, underpinned by Caribbean bass lines and salsa rhythms. David Sanford’s tour de force, Es War, leads into the fifth suite, with a Mingus-inspired pizzicato intro, alluding to Bach’s epic fugue and quoting a Bach cantata. For the sixth and final suite, Luna Pearl Woolf is inspired by pre-Western Hawaiian chant, taking full advantage of the virtuosic properties of the 5-string cello piccolo and treating it operatically, from the low bass to the soprano stratosphere. Overtures to Bach spans more than time, linking us to far-flung corners of our musical world and offering an entrée into six distinct compositional voices. Then, as Philip Glass writes, “Just let Bach’s music begin. It’s there for the listening.”


PENTATONE – which has named Matt Haimovitz their Artist of the Season – has created an online enhanced booklet, with “In Session” videos of Haimovitz and each of the composers in the recording studio, where the new works were further developed and shaped. (The new videos – seven in total – will be available one every two weeks, starting August 1.) Also included as exclusive bonus material on iTunes is a three-movement reflection on Bach by Mohammed Fairouz called Gabriel.


The new album will be launched at Salon Christophori in Berlin on August 12 followed by select Overtures performed on tour in London, Oxford, and Bayreuth. Haimovitz’s “A Moveable Feast” – residencies that bring the Overtures and Suites to unusual locations before culminating in concert-hall performance – premiered last October at Miller Theater at Columbia University and featured in The New York Times, continue this season in cities in Arizona, Utah, Florida, New York, California, Kansas, Iowa, Connecticut, and Quebec.


The PENTATONE Oxingale Series, a new collaboration between the two labels, was launched in January 2015 with BEETHOVEN, Period., the complete Beethoven Sonatas and Variations with Christopher O’Riley. Gramophone said “Haimovitz and O’Riley play the living daylights out of these works” and included it among its list of Top Ten Beethoven Recordings. This was followed by the ORBIT, a new compilation of contemporary solo cello works, which The New York Times called “fascinating … heartwarming, scary, playful and groovy, this recording reveals worlds inside a single instrument.” PENTATONE has also released newly-remastered SACDs of Schubert recordings by Haimovitz, with Itamar Golan and the Miró String Quartet, and Haimovitz and O’Riley’s genre-blurring double-album Shuffle.Play.Listen. The 2015 release of J.S. Bach: The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena was critically-acclaimed. Gramophone said: “Those who want to be challenged without compromising tone or tuning, both of which are impeccable here, should look no further,” and ICI Musique concurred, “Matt Haimovitz has made us well aware that this music is alive, breathes, and refuses to be walled up in a stylistic protective shell. And that is the greatest achievement of this exceptional musician.”


MATT HAIMOVITZ is praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts to a vast variety of styles” and by The New Yorker as “remarkable virtuoso” who “never turns in a predictable performance.” He has been closely associated with J.S. Bach’s Cello Suites since the year 2000, when the former child prodigy jump-started the alt-classical revolution by taking his cello on the road across the U.S., playing the Suites in bars and coffeehouses, including New York’s now-defunct punk palace CBGB’s. Additional performance highlights this season include concerti with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Atlanta Symphony, and Tokyo’s New Japan Philharmonic. Haimovitz will also lead the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie at the Berlin Philharmonie, and perform a concerto by Isang Yun – marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Korean composer and political prisoner – with the Bruckner Orchestra with Dennis Russell Davies on tour in Austria.



Additions to come ~ Subject to change


Aug 12                  Overtures to Bach – International album launch               Salon Christophori          Berlin, Germany

Sept 12                 Overtures to Bach – Canadian album launch                       The Sound Post                Toronto, ON

Sept 14                 Overtures to Bach                                                                           Music Room                       Waterloo, ON

Sept 17                 Osvaldo Golijov “Azul” with Duluth Symphony                   DECC Symphony Hall      Duluth, MN

Sept 23                 Overtures to Bach – US album launch                                    The Crypt                            New York, NY

Sept 24/25          Phillip Glass’s Days and Nights Festival                                   TBA                                        Carmel, CA

Oct 5/6                 A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Madsen Recital Hall         Provo, UT

Oct 7                      A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Gardner Concert Hall      Salt Lake City, UT

Oct 14-16             A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Historic Asolo Theatre    Sarasota, FL

Oct 22                   Glass Double Concerto with Tim Fain, violin                         Emory University             Atlanta, GA

Oct 28/29             Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 with Norwalk Symphony   Norwalk Concert Hall      Norwalk, CT

Nov 19-20            Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 with New Japan Philharmonic       Various                                 Tokyo, Japan

Nov 23/24           Glass Concerto No. 1, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Maison symphonique    Montreal, QC

Jan 13/14             A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Crowder Hall                      Tucson, AZ

Jan 15/16             A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   TBA                                        Phoenix, AZ

Feb 11/12            A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Salle Bourgie                      Montreal, QC

Feb 18/19            A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Soka Performing Arts Ctr.   Aliso Viejo, CA

Feb 25/26            A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Purchase College             Purchase, NY

Mar 2/3                A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Connecticut College        New London, CT

Apr 8/9                 Overtures to Bach                                                                           Thuringia Bach Festival  Thuringia, Germany

Apr 11                   Overtures to Bach                                                                           Schloss Elmau                    Krün, Germany

Apr 18                   Bloch “Schelomo” with Atlanta Symphony                            Symphony Hall                  Atlanta, GA

Apr 21/22            A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Fort Hays State U.            Hays, KS

Apr 28                   Luna Pearl Woolf’s Après Moi, le Déluge                               Mills Concert Hall             Madison, WI

Apr 30                   Russian recital with Christopher O’Riley                                 National Gallery                Washington, DC

May 7                    BEETHOVEN, Period. with Christopher O’Riley                    Kreeger Auditorium        Rockville MD

May 13/14           Saint-Saens Concerto No.1 with Des Moines Symphony                Civic Center        Des Moines, IA

May 19/20           A Moveable Feast / Overtures to Bach                                   Sheslow Auditoriium      Des Moines, IA

June 6                   Overtures, Schubert, Vivaldi w/Deutsche Kammerorchester     Philharmonie                     Berlin, Germany

June 8-12             Tour with Dennis Russell Davies & Bruckner Orchestra    Various                                 Austria

June 23                 Overtures to Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy                      Beethoven Haus              Bonn, Germany

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