Ravalli Republic: Shuffle.Play.Listen: Pianist Matt Haimovitz and cellist Christopher O’Riley to perform at Hamilton PAC

November 20, 2014

“Shuffle.Play.Listen” is the program title of the upcoming concert by acclaimed pianist and host of NPR’s From the Top Christopher O’Riley and Grammy-nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz, to be presented this Saturday evening by the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council.

Monica Grable, executive director of the BPAC, said the Bitterroot Valley audience will be wowed by this performance.

“We’ve only begun to present classical music within the past few years and we strive to offer the best of whatever genre we are presenting – these are some of the best,” said Grable.

“Whether or not people view themselves as a classical music fan, this is a musically diverse concert that anyone would enjoy live. Seeing great artists perform live is infinitely better than any other medium.”

Haimovitz and O’Riley are “each considered rock stars of the classical music world, both known for engaging a new generation and blurring the lines between classical and a wide range of other popular music genres – including rock. In this exciting concert, the celebrated artists will perform from a wide-ranging playlist including works by Stravinsky, Piazzolla, Radiohead, John McLaughlin and Arcade Fire.”

“This concert is particularly exciting for music lovers of all kinds; although they are highly regarded as classical musicians, they are also known for creating arrangements – covers – of complex rock tunes by bands like Radiohead,” said Grable. “This is a not-to-be-missed concert.

“Christopher O’Riley is one of the most renowned pianists in the country, though most people know him from his radio show, From the Top, showcasing phenomenal young musicians. He continues to enjoy the most diverse creative life of any pianist of his generation and plays a multitude of styles and genres from pre-Baroque to compositions of the present day: as concerto soloist and conductor, the dozens of works in his repertoire with orchestra span all centuries.”

“Matt Haimovitz is a Grammy-nominated artist who has received a lot of attention for his work inside and outside of classical music. He is a contemporary cellist that everyone is paying attention to. He brings a fresh ear to familiar repertoire, champions new music and initiates ground-breaking collaborations as well as creating innovative recording projects.”

The Bitterroot Performing Arts Council is continuing their tradition of educational outreach experiences and has partnered with both performers to offer master classes on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Christopher O’Riley will conduct a master class for invited advanced high school and college students on the stage of the Hamilton Performing Arts Center and an audience is welcome to observe. In this class, valley students will be able to participate in the conversation and watch O’Riley as he works with University of Montana piano students who will have prepared pieces for him to critique.

The master class with Matt Haimovitz, for invited advanced high school and college students, will take place in the Hamilton High School choir rehearsal room, where an audience is also welcome.

BPAC has scholarship tickets available for student musicians to attend the evening concert. Anyone interested should call the box office at 363-7946.

For more information about the artists visit their websites: christopheroriley.com and matthaimovitz.com.

By: Michelle McConnaha

Read at: Ravalli Republic

GazetteNet.com: Music review: As Haimovitz and O’Riley shuffled and played, the audience gladly listened

April 2, 2014

The distinguished cellist Matt Haimovitz returned to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Monday, together with the brilliant pianist Christopher O’Riley, with“Shuffle.Play.Listen,” an unusual (if not eccentric) concert before a full house in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. Both musicians were faultless in their playing, and O’Riley was perfect as an accompanist even when the music demanded heavy chords and fortissimo passages full of brilliant scales and arpeggios. He is known as the host and accompanist of NPR’s Sunday program “From the Top,” and his career has included transcriptions of rock music and jazz, as well as the classical canon.

Haimovitz, well known in western Massachusetts (he once lived in Northampton, and was on the UMass faculty), has, like the eminent cellist Yo Yo Ma, played in what used to be considered unusual settings, such as bars and clubs. He has, like O’Riley, been a pioneer in extending the range of his instrument’s literature from the classical canon to rock and jazz. The audience could expect an extraordinary mix of classical, pop and jazz pieces, and they were not disappointed.

The performers did not always announce what they were about to play nor was there a printed program. As the word “shuffle” in the concert’s title implied, the order of the pieces was both unusual and unexpected. The only piece to suffer from this was Beethoven’s “Twelve Variations on a Theme of Mozart,” which seemed austere in its setting between modern pop pieces. Here O’Riley played with lucid delicacy and Haimovitz switched, as it were, to a more restrained style.

The concert began with music from 1958, composed by Brian Herrmann for Alfred Hitchcock’s film masterpiece, “Vertigo.” It continued with a song by the British rock band Radiohead, performed with intense emotion by Haimovitz.

Next, the duo performed the cello sonata in C major composed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1949, a time for Russians of the joy of liberation from the war and sadness for the damage and immense loss of life that it caused.

Both musicians were fully engaged in this difficult work, playing as one, yet allowing each to come forward brilliantly when the music demanded. This work was the central piece of the program in scale and substance, and the most satisfying.

There followed a contrasting piece by the Argentinian Astor Piazzolla, who died in 1992. His music was devoted to the tango, whose style he extended to what he called the nuevo tango, with its rich counterpoint of contrasting rhythms and harmonies, energetically played, an invitation, it seemed, for the audience to get up and dance.

In addition to the Beethoven, the second half included a very energetic piece (not announced) that showed off the brilliant bowing of the cellist. Later there was an exceptionally gentle and beautiful piece, “Orchard,” by Philip Glass.

To end the concert the performers turned to the music of John McLaughlin, a virtuoso guitarist, now in his 70s. In the 1970s McLaughlin had formed a small orchestra called Mahavishnu, a name sometimes used by McLaughlin and indicative of his interest in and use of Indian music. A single hearing was not enough to gauge the depth of this captivating music.

For their encore the players chose “In the Backseat,” a song from the Canadian rock group Arcade Fire. True to the song’s lyrics — “I like the peace / In the backseat / I don’t have to drive / I don’t have to speak / I can watch the countryside / And I can fall asleep” — the selection brought a quiet and peaceful ending to the concert.

By: MARK MORFORD

Read at: Gazettenet.com

Gazzettenet.com: Headliners: Matt Haimovitz, Christopher O’Riley at UMass FAC: Local Vocal Chord Bowl at NHS

March 28, 2014

Mixing it up

Cello virtuoso (and former Valley resident) Matt Haimovitz has long been a critic of what he calls the artificial and outmoded boundaries that divide classical and popular music, and with the emergence of the iPod generation — a listening public that mixes Mozart with Lady Gaga — he’s serendipitously discovered an audience in synch with his doctrine. Taking its title from media-player terminology, “Shuffle.Play.Listen,” Haimovitz’s new two-disc collaboration with Christopher O’Riley — a classical pianist similarly inclined to genre-jumping — interweaves an arrangement of film composer Bernard Herrmann’s five-part suite for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” with related pieces by Igor Stravinsky, Argentine tango composer Ástor Piazzolla and Czech composers Bohuslav Martinu and Leoš Janáček (disc one), then delves further into the mosaical (disc two) with a series of arrangements of works by various outre rock artists (Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Cocteau Twins) to create “a wonderfully diverse musical experience performed by two incredibly complex artists” (All Things Strings).

On Monday Haimovitz and O’Riley bring their Shuffle.Play.Listen tour to the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall for a 7:30 p.m. show. The first half of the concert is pre-arranged; the second half will be programmed from the stage to allow the players to share contexts and permit the music to flow seamlessly from one genre to the next.

$15, $30, $40 general; $10 Five College, GCC, STCC students and youth 17 and under. There is a pre-concert talk with NEPR afternoon classical music host Walter Carroll at 6:30 p.m. at the University Club. 545-251, fineartscenter.com

By: Dan DeNicola

Read at: Gazettenet.com

Shuffle.Play.Listen

CBC Music: Classical crossover that doesn’t suck, from Punch Brothers to 2Cellos

March 6, 2014

Don’t let anyone tell you that classical crossover is lacking in any sort of artistic merit. At its best, this unfairly victimized genre of music can be just as moving and expressive as the traditional classical music you hear in the concert hall.

Classical crossover has gotten a sour reputation from a few bad apples who tried just a little too hard to be cool. Crossover’s reputation is so bad that many crossover artists despise the label, despite fitting perfectly into the definition of combining classical with other genres.

CBC Music has your guide to classical crossover that doesn’t suck. Hit play on the YouTube playlist below to hear the best of the unfairly maligned genre, then click “open gallery” above to start the guide.

Read and watch at: CBC Music

By: Michael Morreale

Matt Haimovitz

Kingston Whig-Standard: From Bach and Stravinsky to Arcade Fire

February 28, 2014

Like the selections he plays, cellist Matt Haimovitz likes to sometimes veer off the traditional path.

For example, around the turn of the century, Haimovitz embarked on his Bach Listening Room Tour, which saw him eschew concert halls and the like in favour of playing in jazz clubs and rock venues across the continent.

“I wanted to reach out to an audience that wasn’t coming to the concert hall,” Haimovitz said Wednesday over the phone from Tucson, Ariz., where he had been performing the night before. “I wanted to play music that was really important to me that wasn’t being presented in a concert hall.”

While the tour made sense to Haimovitz — he first thought of redefining what it meant to be a classical musician when he was doing his undergrad at Harvard University and noticed that no one his age was in the audience — it didn’t to others. Continue reading

The Detroit News: Artists reimagine classical music for a contemporary audience

January 8, 2014

This weekend, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit presents a pair of noteworthy concerts with a couple of first-rate, and deliciously unconventional, musicians.

Christopher O’Riley, in addition to being an accomplished classical pianist, hosts “From the Top,” NPR’s popular radio showcase for young musicians (not currently heard in the Detroit market). Every week on the show, he plays a brief interlude going into the show’s station break. One day, having run through the gamut of Chopin preludes and Bach inventions, he decided to try something different. When he’d finished, the show’s announcer came on saying, “That was Christopher O’Riley, our host, playing ‘Karma Police’ by Radiohead.” Continue reading

Detroit Performs: Shuffle. Play. Listen. Christopher O’Riley and Matt Haimovitz with Chris Felcyn

January 8, 2014

Pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz will be appearing in concerts sponsored by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit this weekend. On Thursday, Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. they’ll be guests of Chris Felcyn on The Well-Tempered Wireless program of WRCJ 90.9 FM. Tune in and find out which Jimmy Stewart co-star has become a big fan of their music. Continue reading

O'Riley's Liszt - Blu-ray Video/Audio Disc

Christian B. Carey: O’Riley’s Liszt

December 27, 2013

File under best CDs of 2013

O’Riley’s Liszt
Christopher O’Riley, piano
Oxingale

During the past decade, Christopher O’Riley has been quite busy, hosting From the Top, concertizing, and recording his adaptations of pop songs by Radiohead, Nick Drake, and Elliott Smith.  But he hasn’t released an all-classical CD since a Scriabin disc in 2004. That is, until 2013, when his two-CD recording of music by that barnstormer of barnstormers and finger-buster of finger-busters, Franz Liszt, saw the light of day. Continue reading

San Jose Mercury News: Best of 2013 classical

December 20, 2013

We’re constantly hearing that classical music is in a state of crisis: struggling orchestras, aging concertgoers, a weakened recording industry. Sometimes I think it’s all a crock, or at least a substantial exaggeration. Whatever the challenges, the music is stubborn and continues to thrive in many ways. This year, like every year, I received many dozens of new classical recordings. Here are 10 that should stand the test: old works, new works and new works commenting on old works with affection and humor.

1. Hilary Hahn, “In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores” (Deutsche Grammophon): The violinist commissioned 26 new works from 26 composers — a bonanza of repertory, created in one fell swoop. (She also held a contest to find a 27th, and wound up choosing from among more than 400 submissions.) Brilliantly performed by Hahn and pianist Cory Smythe, the results are on these two discs — a grab bag of treasures. The composers include David Lang and David Del Tredici, Mason Bates and Lera Auerbach, Nico Muhly and film scorer James Newton Howard. I’m right now obsessed with Avner Dorman’s “Memory Games,” a sort of mad, mazelike tango that might have been conceived by Conlon Nancarrow.

2. Christopher O’Riley, “O’Riley’s Liszt” (Oxingale): I love the way pianist O’Riley moves from fascination to fascination with each new recording. This double-disc feels like a concept album: nothing but Liszt transcriptions of works by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner (“Prelude and Liebestod”) and (the pièce de résistance) Berlioz, whose “Symphonie fantastique” is rarely heard in this titanic version for solo piano. It unfolds like an ancient exploration, straight to the scaffold and the “Witches’ Sabbath.” Continue reading

Aiken Standard: Cultural series showcases ‘shuffle, play, listen’

October 3, 2013

Back in the late 1980s, when Spoleto USA was only about a decade old, I was enjoying one of the programs in the chamber music series that Charles Wadsworth organized for the festival and which became, over time, one of its most popular and consistently successful features. Wadsworth, the ever-avuncular host, had just introduced to the Dock Street Theatre stage a teenaged phenomenon named Matt Haimovitz, whom he predicted would soon leave his mark on the cello repertoire. Continue reading