NPR Music premieres Maya Beiser’s film Air

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NPR Music premieres Maya Beiser’s film Air

Watch Air, a film by Maya Beiser, from her new album TranceClassical:

Worldwide Release Date for TranceClassical: July 29, 2016
Innova Recordings

Pre-Order on iTunes and receive Air instantly:

“cello rock star” – Rolling Stone
“the reigning queen of the avant-garde cello” – Washington Post

Press-only download, cover art, and album booklet not for publication: (Password: Trance2016)

Maya Beiser, acclaimed as “a force of nature” (Boston Globe) and “ferociously adventurous” (San Francisco Chronicle), will release her next album, TranceClassical, worldwide on July 29, 2016 on Innova Recordings. This week, NPR Music premieres Maya’s video for the album’s opening track, J.S. Bach’s Air on G, as part of its First Watch series. Watch the video:

Maya is producing several videos for TranceClassical, which will be released over this summer. In Air, her debut video as director and producer, she created a dance video for J.S. Bach’s Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3. Air is a memory imprint of a faded, slowly turning LP record. The figures of the two dancers move inside the record in a state of trance-like dream. The video’s associate director is Ben Wolf, choreographer is Kathleen Kelley, and dancers are Jennifer Campbell and Emma Pressman.

Tom Huizenga writes for the NPR Music premiere, “Cellist Maya Beiser finds no boundaries in music … In this video … Beiser plays with time and memory. She turns the clock back to her childhood — to the days of snuggling with a blanket on the sofa, hearing Bach’s music for the first time off a scratchy old LP. As the needle hits the vinyl, two dancers, like the hands of a clock, move across a rotating turntable to the strains of Beiser’s cello.”

In TranceClassical, Maya explores music for cello that entrances, and that transforms and transcends boundaries, styles, and centuries. TranceClassical includes selections by as wide an array of composers as is imaginable, brought to common ground by Maya’s unique artistic vision – J.S. Bach, Michael Gordon, Imogen Heap, Glenn Kotche, Lou Reed/David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Mohammed Fairouz, David T. Little, and Hildegard von Bingen, plus arrangements created by Maya.

Of this very personal project, Maya says, “TranceClassical is the arc my mind sketches between everything I create and Bach – David Lang and Bach, Glenn Kotche and Bach, Michael Gordon and Bach. No matter how far I venture, how rebellious, or avant-garde or electronic, my artistic mooring stays with the creation of this immense genius. Was it his music? Or just being an impressionable young girl, trying to partake in her parents’ worship? Probably both. But the pieces I bring here give me a sense of trance – a reverie and meditation on his place in my heart.”

In addition to Air on G, the album includes Michael Gordon’s All Vows, which takes the Jewish Yom Kippur prayer, the Kol Nidrei (which translates to All Vows) and reimagines it entirely. Maya melds cello and electronically transformed vocals, sung simultaneously while she plays, in Imogen Heap’s mesmerizing Hide and Seek. Composer and drummer Glenn Kotche of Wilco contributes Three Parts Wisdom, a rhythmic and multilayered new work for Maya, described as “a soaring, gorgeous tour de force for solo cello” by The Washington Post. In Lou Reed’s Heroin, arranged by David Lang, Maya sings the haunting confessional over her cello’s arpeggios in a startlingly moving take on the original. Julia Wolfe’s Emunah (or “belief”) is an ancient-feeling vocal and cello duo expressing and expounding on the idea of devotion. Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz’s new Kol Nidrei, in which Maya sings the text in Aramaic, also engages echoes of ancient cantorial styles, and has been described as “simply gorgeous” (The New York Times) and “luxuriant” (San Francisco Chronicle). David T. Little’s driving Hellhound, written for Maya, is based on legendary bluesman Robert Johnson’s 1937 song Hellhound On My Trail, which tells the story of a man pursued by demons, unable to rest. The album closes with Maya’s plaintive but ardent arrangement of Medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen’s O Virtus Sapientiae.

Cellist Maya Beiser defies categories. Passionately forging a career path through uncharted territories, she 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.”

Maya has dedicated her work to reinventing solo cello performance in the mainstream classical arena. A featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, London’s South Bank Centre, Sydney Opera House, Beijing Festival, Big Ears festival, and the Barbican’s Sound Unbound, she has collaborated with a wide range of artists across many disciplines, including Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Shirin Neshat, Steve Reich, David Lang, Tan Dun, Robert Woodruff, Bill Morrison, Evan Ziporyn and Osvaldo Golijov, among many others.

Maya’s 2012 production, Elsewhere: A CelloOpera, premiered at Carolina Performing Arts followed by a sold-out run at the BAM Next Wave Festival. Her latest project All Vows explores the dichotomy between the physical, external world and the inner landscape of our secret selves and premiered at the Yerba Buena Center in 2014. Beiser is currently touring All Vows worldwide. Recent and upcoming performances include the BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival, London’s Barbican Hall, and the Ojai Music Festival.

Maya Beiser is a United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow in Music for 2015. Invited to present at the prestigious TED main stage in Long Beach, CA, Maya’s 2011 TEDtalk has been watched by close to one million people and translated to 32 languages. In 2013, she was a featured guest alongside such luminaries as Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, and Isabella Rossellini at ICASTICA, a festival celebrating women working in artistic fields in Arezzo, Italy.

Maya is a graduate of Yale University and a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Her vast discography includes eight 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, and her album Time Loops was selected among NPR’s top 10 recordings of 2012. Her latest album Uncovered, a collection of re-imagined and re-contextualized classic rock masterpieces, was in the top 10 on the Billboard Classical Chart upon release in August 2014 and has been garnering rave reviews.

Maya Beiser: TranceClassical | Innova Recordings | Release Date: July 29, 2016

1. Air on G – J.S. Bach
2. All Vows – Michael Gordon
3. Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap / arr. Maya Beiser
4. Three Parts Wisdom – Glenn Kotche
5. Heroin – Lou Reed / arr. David Lang
6. Emunah – Julia Wolfe
7. Kol Nidrei – Mohammed Fairouz
8. Hellhound – David T. Little
9. O Virtus Sapientiae – Hildegard von Bingen / arr. Maya Beiser

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