Jazz Police: Eclectic Cellist Matt Haimovitz at Macalester

January 29, 2012

Macalester College plays host to one of the most eclectic musicians of his generation when cellist Matt Haimovitz visits the campus as part of the New Music Series, presenting a free solo concert  (“Beyond Bach”) in the Weyerhauser Chapel on Friday, February 3rd at 8 pm.  A virtuoso cellist who plays classical concert halls and punk rock clubs, Haimovitz is known for his wide-ranging repertoire, which on any given night might include a Bach Prelude and a Jimi Hendrix tune.Anthem

Matt Haimovitz was born in Israel to Romanian immigrants who relocated to California when Matt was 5 years old. He started studying cello at age 7, and at 12 impressed the great Itzak Perlman, who arranged for him to study with Leonard Rose at Juilliard, necessitating the family’s move to New York. At 15, Matt appeared with the Israeli Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, and a year later toured with Mehta, performed with the New York Philharmonic. At 16 he received an Avery Fisher Career Grant—the youngest musician to ever receive this award. At 17, he signed an exclusive contract with DMG recordsm winning the Grand Prix du Disque among other honors. Yet, after graduating from Harvard in 1996, Haimovitz realized he was no longer satisfied with the traditional direction of his career and began exploring alternative repertoire and unusual venues for cello performance. He drew international attention in 2002, touring night clubs, restaurants and other nontraditional venues where he performed Bach’s cello suites; in 2003, his Anthem tour brought American music to diverse audiences, including his interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s famed improvisation on “The Star Spangled Banner.”


Over his career, Matt Haimovitz has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, among others, with the world’s leading conductors; his more typical setting in recent years is as a solo performer. In 2006, he received the Concert Music Award from ASCAP for his “advocacy of living composers and pioneering spirit,” and in 2004, he received the Trailblazer Award of the American Music Center for his far-reaching contributions to American music.

Haimovitz led cello studies at the University of Massachusetts (1994-2004) and now serves on the faculty of McGill University in Montreal. He founded his own recording label in 2000, Oxingale Records. His most recent recording, Meeting of the Spirits, features Uccello, his large cello ensemble (drawn from his top students at McGill University, and guests John McLaughlin and Matt Wilson. The range of music is pure Haimovitz—McLaughlin, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, John Lewis, Billy Strayhorn, George Gershwin and Charles Mingus.

In the Twin Cities, Haimovitz most recently has performed at the Dakota Jazz Club, appearing solo in January 2008, with electronics master Du Yun in October 2009, and with Jelloslave in March 2010.

Figment cover 16-12-2009

by Andrea Canter

View at Jazz Police

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