The News-Herald: Matt Haimovitz teams with CityMusic for orchestra’s new performance

February 5, 2010

The News-Herald

Eugenia Strauss, executive director of CityMusic Cleveland, believes tonight’s concert at the United Methodist Church in Willoughby, featuring cello soloist Matt Haimovitz, is unique for the area.

“We are presenting a wonderful concert with Matt Haimovitz, who is in his late 30s and he’s a real pioneer,” said Strauss, of the orchestra’s third show in it’s 2009-10 season. “He has been playing since 13 years old and has played with every major orchestra in the world. Later when he looked around the concert halls he never saw his peers. So he decided to introduce people in their 20s and 30s to this great music by playing in coffee houses, clubs, outdoor festivals, upscale bars. He has been traveling all over the United States doing this and has been incredibly successful in building audiences who discovered they really liked Bach and these other musical composers.

“CityMusic Cleveland is tremendously lucky to get him,” she added. “The night before he comes to Cleveland he’s playing at Lincoln Center. He has an incredible career but since we are doing what he believes in, presenting great music free of charge, he’s coming to Ohio.”

Founded in 2004 with a mission to develop audiences and build communities through the arts by presenting the finest quality performances of classical repertoire, eliminating the twin barriers of high ticket prices and unfamiliar venues and working with neighborhood leaders to enrich the cultural offerings of their communities, CityMusic Cleveland plays throughout Northeast Ohio in churches, cafes and other unconventional venues.

The idea is to expose classical music to the mainstream. Led by conductor Daniel Rachev, the upcoming program includes Schubert (Webern-German Dances), Shostakovich (Cello Concerto No.1, Op.107) and Mozart (Symphony No. 40 In G Minor, K550). Among the pieces, Strauss stressed the music of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich is something special.

“Shostakovich is an amazing composer with a great history,” Strauss said. “He was fascinated by writing for a cello and an orchestra.”

Even though the upcoming CityMusic Cleveland event takes place at a house of worship, Strauss stresses the show is not spiritual-based. Instead, the choice of venue is based more around catering to a sense of community.Figment cover 16-12-2009

“It’s not religious at all — it just happens that churches are free,” Strauss said. “Also churches are comfortable locations where people like to go to because they are familiar and they know they’ll find their neighbors, friends and colleagues. And if they do come out, I think by the time they’ll walk out they’ll have heard some really great music by 39 young and fantastic musicians who love what they’re doing and are very enthusiastic. It’s just really a real community event.”

CityMusic Cleveland presents a free performance of cello soloist Matt Haimovitz and orchestra at 7:30 p.m. today at the United Methodist Church, 15 Public Square, Willoughby. For more information, call 440-942-9068 or visit

by John Benson

View article at The News-Herald

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