Daily Nebraskan: World famous cellist to perform at Sheldon Museum

March 11, 2010

Listening to classical music is an  emotion-soaked experience that leaves your heart racing one second and  nearly  lulls you into a state of euphoria the next.

On Friday, world renowned cellist Matt  Haimovitz comes to the Sheldon Museum of Art, with a few friends, to  demonstrate what live classical music can sound like in the hands of  one of the imminent players of  our time.

Stef Mackinnon

Stef Mackinnon

Haimovitz was labeled a child prodigy at the  age of  13, studying under legendary teacher Leonard Rose at the famed  Juilliard School  in New York City, and later under notable cellists  Ronald Leonard and Yo-Yo Ma.  By the time he graduated from Harvard in  1996, he decided to break away from the  traditional route of grandiose  concert hall performances for a moment, the  direction most heavily  sought-after players go in, and embarked on what he  labeled his “Bach  Listening Tour.”

The “Listening Tour” took him out of the  concert halls  and into clubs across the United States, a virtual first  among classical  players. He even became the first classical musician to  play the CBGB Club in  New York, famous for being the founding venue of  punk rock bands such as The  Ramones and The Misfits. While performing  mainly Bach, Haimovitz also treated  each crowd to his cello rendition  of Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled  Banner.”

“I wanted to bring classical music to  audiences that  didn’t feel comfortable going to a concert hall,”  Haimovitz says. “(I want to)  shake up the way classical music had been  presented for the last 40 or 50  years.”

Haimovitz is widely considered to be one of  the two  greatest cellists in the world. He says he loves playing  classical music to a  live audience.

“I had a teacher that told me about opening  up a  Beethoven (symphony). It’s Beethoven’s handwriting and his notes,  but it’s all  dead ink, dead notes,” Haimovitz said.

“With a live performance, you get to bring  it all to  life to a contemporary audience and show how it’s relevant to  our lives.”

Coming with Haimovitz to the Sheldon on  Friday are  Andy Simionescu, Nokuthula Ngwenyama and Elizabeth Suh-Lane.

All three players are very accomplished  violinists who  have played throughout the world and with such groups as  Bowdoin Trio, The New  York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic  and the London Symphony  Orchestra.

Gunter Hofmann, president of the Lincoln  Friends of  Chamber Music, who is bringing these four performers to  Lincoln, says that The  Sheldon Museum is the perfect venue for this  quartet.

“The auditorium is the right size for  chamber music,”  Hofmann says, “It’s meant to be played in a small and  intimate place.”

The Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music has  been  partnering with the Sheldon for 44 out of the last 45 years.

“We love the building,” Hofmann said “It’s  just a  gorgeous space and the Sheldon staff is great to work with.”

Lovers of classical music will have no  problem fleeing  to the Sheldon tonight for this performance. If,  however, you’re someone who’s a  bit reserved about going to such an  event, Haimovitz says to put aside all of  the things you think about  classical music.

“I strongly believe with a great performance  you don’t  have to know anything. Classical music is traditionally  really one of innovation  and looking to the future as well as society.”

What’s Haimovitz’s favorite part about  performing to a  live audience?

“What you can do in (live) music in the most  profound,  most abstract way is communicate and share emotions,” he  said.

“You can share all that, no matter if  there’s one  person there or two thousand.”



By Nick Hardt

View article at Daily Nebraskan

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