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.
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