6/17: Maya Beiser in new music by Michael Harrison with Bill Morrison film at Bang on a Can Marathon
Cellist Maya Beiser
performs Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops, with film by Bill Morrison
Bang on a Can Marathon
Sunday, June 17, 2012 | After 9pm (Marathon runs Noon-Midnight)
World Financial Center Winter Garden
220 Vesey Street, NYC
Admission: FREE. Information & Marathon Schedule at 718.852.7755 or www.bangonacan.org.
** Video Preview by Bill Morrison of Just Ancient Loops: http://www.vimeo.com/43002580 **
Recording to be Released: Fall 2012, Cantaloupe Music
New York, NY — Maya Beiser, described by the Boston Globe as having “virtuoso chops, rock-star charisma, and an appetite for pushing her instrument to the edge of avant-garde adventurousness,” will give the world premiere of Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops with new film by Bill Morrison during the 12-hour Bang on a Can Marathon after 9pm on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at World Financial Center Winter Garden (220 Vesey Street, NYC). A recording of Just Ancient Loops will be released on Cantaloupe Music in fall 2012. The album, entitled Time Loops, also includes Harrison’s Hijaz for Maya Beiser and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City with Harrison on piano, plus music by Arvo Pärt and J.S. Bach.
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. 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 pre-recorded parts and a new film created specifically for the project by multi-media artist Bill Morrison.”
Of the new piece, Maya says, “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. There are those rare moments in an artist's life when you realize that you are part of something that is greater than yourself, your collaborators, your listeners – when everything falls into place and music just lives and breathes on its own: raw, naked, real. It takes over. It becomes a force of nature. Such was the moment when I listened to the first mix of Just Ancient Loops.”
About Maya Beiser: Maya Beiser has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument’s boundaries. AllMusic.com reports, “Maya Beiser has etched a bold career path that marries classical to rock, starched collars to casual dress, and tradition to unorthodoxy.” Over the past decade, Maya has created new repertoire 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, London’s Barbican and the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan and was a featured speaker and performer at the 2011 TED conference; her TEDTalk has since garnered over half a million views online.
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 premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2008 and forms the basis of her latest recording. Her sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall have been chosen by The New York Times critics as among the “Best Of The Year.” She is currently at work on her newest project Elsewhere, a CELLoOpera, which premieres in fall 2012. Elsewhere is an imaginative retelling of the Biblical legend of Lot's wife, created by Beiser with director Robert Woodruff, composers Missy Mazzoli and Eve Beglarian and writer Erin Cressida Wilson.
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, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Athens. 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 many others.
Maya’s latest recording, Provenance, has been a top selling classical and world music CD since its release in 2010. Her performance of Steve Reich’s Cello Counterpoint, a piece written for her, is featured on the Nonesuch disc You Are, which was chosen by The New York Times as one of the top albums of the year. She is also the soloist on the Sony Classical CD release of Tan Dun’s Water Passion, and has performed his Academy Award-winning score Crouching Tiger Concerto with orchestras around the globe. She has released four solo CDs on Koch (now E1) including Oblivion, Kinship, World To Come, and Almost Human.
Maya has been a featured soloist on several film soundtracks. Collaborating with renowned film composer James Newton Howard, she is the featured soloist on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters, Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, and Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman (June 2012).
Raised on a kibbutz 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. Maya can be found on Twitter, tweeting as @cellogoddess, a moniker bestowed upon her by The New Yorker.
About Michael Harrison: Michael Harrison, composer and pianist, has been called “an American Maverick” by Philip Glass. Through his expertise in “just intonation” tunings, Indian ragas and rhythmic cycles, he has created “a new harmonic world…of vibrant sound” (The New York Times). With a uniquely personal style that transcends the ages, his music is both forward looking and deeply rooted in different forms of traditional music. This unique perspective alongside a simple and elegant gift for melody, makes him a composer that can reach audiences of many kinds.
Revelation, Michael’s first recording for the Cantaloupe Music label (a multi-year project), was chosen by The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Time Out New York as one of the Best Classical Recordings of the year, and received awards from the Classical Recording Foundation and IBLA Foundation. Music critic and scholar Tim Page wrote, “Say it plainly — Michael Harrison's ‘Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation’ is probably the most brilliant and original extended composition for solo piano since the early works of Frederic Rzewski three decades ago (and no, I am not forgetting Elliott Carter). What could have been a mere glossary of unfamiliar sonorities made possible by Harrison's unconventional tuning of a grand piano turned instead into a virtuosic tour-de-force that would have done credit to the hypothetical team of Franz Liszt and Claude Debussy working overtime.”
During his time at the University of Oregon, Michael traveled to New York City where he worked closely with La Monte Young preparing all of the specialized tunings and scores for Young's 6½-hour work, The Well-Tuned Piano. In 1987, Michael became the only other person besides the composer to perform this extended work. In 1986, Michael designed and created the “harmonic piano,” an extensively modified grand piano with the ability to play 24 notes per octave. Kyle Gann from The Village Voice hailed the harmonic piano as “an indisputable landmark in the history of Western tuning,” and the instrument is described in detail in the second edition of the Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments.
Michael is the president of the American Academy of Indian Classical Music. He is a disciple of the late Pandit Pran Nath, with whom he studied since 1979, and has performed solo and with Terry Riley as a vocalist, pianist, and on tamboura in numerous concerts and trips to India. Since 1999, he has continued his studies and performances with master Indian vocalist Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. His recordings have been released on Cantaloupe Music, New Albion Records, Important Records, and Fortuna Records. For more information, visit www.michaelharrison.com.
About Bill Morrison: Hailed by Variety as “one of the most adventurous American filmmakers, Bill Morrison has built a filmography of more than thirty projects over the last twenty years that have been presented in theaters, museums, galleries and concert halls worldwide. His work often makes use of rare archival footage in which forgotten film imagery is reframed as part of our collective mythology. Morrison's films are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, The Nederlands Filmmuseum, and The Library of Congress. He is a Guggenheim fellow and has received the Alpert Award for the Arts, an NEA Creativity Grant, a Creative Capital grant, and a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. His work with Ridge Theater has been recognized with two Bessie awards and an Obie Award. For more information, visit www.billmorrisonfilm.com.
# # #