Time Loops is my latest album collaboration with the composer and pianist Michael Harrison. Harrison’s music is architectural and precise, yet exhilarating and beautiful. It draws on music from ancient Greece and the Renaissance, Indian ragas and minimalism. Complementing Harrison’s compositions is music by two composers he reveres: Arvo Part and J.S. Bach.
The centerpiece of the album is “Just Ancient Loops”, a 25 minute musical odyssey that Harrison composed for me and which unveils every aspect of the cello – from its most glorious and mysterious harmonics to the earthy rhythmic pizzicatos. The cello becomes an “Uber instrument” – laying down the drones, building rhythmical grooves on top of each other, singing melismatic melodies, and reaching up to the stratosphere as the music evolves and builds into a massive, exhilarating climax.
Bach/Gounod’s famed Ave Maria, receives its own surprising interpretation as Harrison accompanies me on a specially tuned piano, along with a Raga-prelude inspired by Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. The inclusion of Arvo Part’s Spiegel Im Spiegel in the album, exemplify Part’s own exploration of timbre and reverberation and the intrinsic spirituality of his music.
The album closes with the breathtaking Hijaz, a piece commissioned by conductor Francisco Nunez for children’s choir, solo cello, piano and tabla, which Harrison composed for me and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
ELSEWHERE, my new CelloOpera, is premiering at Carolina Performing Arts at UNC Chapel Hill on October 11th. Following the premiere at UNC, ELSEWHERE will show for four nights at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Performance dates at BAM are October 17, 18, 19 & 20 at 7:30pm each night.
ELSEWHERE, is presented as part of the inaugural season of BAM’s Fishman Space at the beautiful new Fisher Building. It’s an intimate space and tickets are limited. I would love for all my friends to be there! Tickets for the BAM Next Wave Festival performance are available here.
I created ELSEWHERE, a CelloOpera, in collaboration with theater director extraordinaire Robert Woodruff. The piece tells the story of two women bearing witness to their world as it’s coming to an end and features the amazing performing artist and singer Helga Davis in duets with my cello. In a triptych of compositions by Eve Beglarian, Michael Gordon, and Missy Mazzoli, ELSEWHERE incorporates sung and spoken text by Henri Michaux and Erin Cressida Wilson with acoustic, and electric cellos, film by Peter Nigrini, and choreography by Brook Notary. ELSEWHERE is produced by Beth Morrison Projects.
Come hear the premiere of Just Ancient Loops – my collaboration with composer Michael Harrison and multi-media artist Bill Morrison – Sunday, June 17th @ 9pm during Bang on a Can’s Marathon. View a preview of Bill Morrison’s video for the piece here!!
Just Ancient Loops is a 25-minute piece that unveils every aspect of the cello – from its most glorious and mysterious harmonics to earthy, rhythmic pizzicatos. In this work the cello becomes this “über” instrument – laying down the drones, building rhythmical grooves on top of each other, singing melismatic melodies, and reaching up to the stratosphere as the music evolves and builds into a massive, exhilarating climax. Michael Harrison explains, “Just Ancient Loops uses Just tunings, Ancient modes and harmonies, and Loops of melodic and rhythmic modules. It is a musical odyssey for an orchestra of cellos, with each cello part recorded separately in the studio by Maya. In concert Maya plays the lead part live accompanied by a recording of all of the other prerecorded parts and a new film created specifically for the project by multi-media artist Bill Morrison.”
A full album of collaborations between Michael and myself will debut in the fall of 2012. The album, entitled “Time Loops,” also includes Harrison’s “Hijaz” and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, plus music by Arvo Pärt and J.S. Bach.
Provenance is the best-selling album from Maya Beiser, hailed by The New Yorker as a “cello goddess” and by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the queen of post-minimalist cello.” The title means ‘origins,’ referring to both Maya’s personal history and the intertwining cultural traditions that course through this stunning disc. On some selections, the rich-hued sound of Maya’s cello is heard on its own; on others, she’s accompanied by Lebanese-American master musicians Jamey Haddad (percussion) and Bassam Saba (oud), with percussionist Shane Shanahan. The culminating track is a dazzling arrangement of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir for multi-tracked cello and drumkit, featuring studio legend Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello).