. Interchanging Idioms: In May and June, Cellist Matt Haimovitz Goes “Beyond Bach” in Boston, Plays Woolf’s Après moi, le déluge in New York, and Tours with Uccello

Friday, May 11, 2012

In May and June, Cellist Matt Haimovitz Goes “Beyond Bach” in Boston, Plays Woolf’s Après moi, le déluge in New York, and Tours with Uccello


It has already been a red-letter season for cellist Matt Haimovitz, who recently made the news with a world premiere (Philip Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2 “Naqoyqatsi”), a nationwide recital tour (with pianist Christopher O’Riley), a hit recording (his double album with O’Riley, Shuffle.Play.Listen), and more. Now May and June see the cellist offering a characteristically diverse and challenging lineup. He performs Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in Illinois (May 4–6); gives a “Beyond Bach” solo recital at Boston’s Gardner Museum (May 17); tours with his all-cello ensemble, Uccello, playing concerts in Toronto (June 6), Buffalo (June 7), Ithaca (June 8–9), and at New York’s Bargemusic (June 10); and makes a star turn as soloist with the Trinity Choir in Du Yun’s San, Laura Elise Schwendinger’s Six Choral Settings and Luna Pearl Woolf’s concerto for cello and a cappella choir, Après moi, le deluge, at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall (May 31). In an interview below, composer Luna Pearl Woolf discusses the return to New York of Après moi, le deluge, her virtuosic, poignant response to Hurricane Katrina.

Last August, Haimovitz participated in a performance of Philip Glass’s Naqoyqatsi with the Philip Glass Ensemble at the Edinburgh International Festival, accompanying the Godfrey Reggio film Naqoyqatsi (part of a trilogy that also includes Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi). A Scotsman review of the event described the cellist’s performance as “stunning.” In March, with the Cincinnati Symphony under Dennis Russell Davies, Haimovitz gave the world premiere of Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2, which was largely inspired by the score of Naqoyqatsi. The response was glowing; as the Cincinnati Enquirer observed, “Haimovitz performed the expansive themes with emotion and a timbre ranging from gritty to deeply beautiful.” In August, Haimovitz travels to Australia with the Philip Glass Ensemble to perform the 90-minute film version of Naqoyqatsi in Melbourne.

Having ranged this year from the Glass concerto to arrangements of Stravinsky, Radiohead, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this month Haimovitz delves back into the standard repertoire. Joining the Elgin Symphony Orchestra under Victor Yampolsky (May 4–6), he performs Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto in Illinois for the first time since recording it at age 16 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and James Levine for Deutsche Grammophon. Haimovitz’s programming is eclectic once again on May 17, when his “Beyond Bach” recital at Boston’s Gardner Museum encompasses Bach, living American composers, and a new arrangement of the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.” Uccello’s East Coast June tour presents jazz arrangements for two to eight cellos from Meeting of the Spirits, which won the ensemble a 2011 Grammy Award.

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