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Sixth & I – Sanctuary

Maya Beiser

Nov 8, 2014 • 8:00 pm ET
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The New Yorker magazine famously once referred to Maya Beiser as “the cello goddess.” The Israeli-born cellist is equal parts glamour, passion, and musical artistry of the highest level, and she brings it all to everything she does — from her collaborations with Steve Reich, to her work with Brian Eno and Shirin Neshat, to her stage shows at BAM and other top venues around the world. Maya captivates audiences with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument’s boundaries. The Boston Globe declares, “With virtuoso chops, rock-star charisma, and an appetite for pushing her instrument to the edge of avant-garde adventurousness, Maya Beiser is the post-modern diva of the cello.”

All Vows:

In her newest production, All Vows, “cello goddess” (The New Yorker) Maya Beiser explores the dichotomy between the physical, external world we inhabit and the inner landscape of our secret selves. In a carefully curated set of “uncovers” crafted by Evan Ziporyn, Maya goes deep inside music from her latest album Uncovered by Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Janis Joplin, and Howlin Wolf to reveal the core of each song as a musical masterpiece—a totem of our collective consciousness forged by our shared, popular culture. Maya’s Uncovered album was in the top 10 on the Billboard Classical Chart upon release in August 2014. The San Francisco Chronicle raved, “With this electrifying disc, the avant-garde cello virtuoso Maya Beiser transforms herself into something of a rock ’n’ roll diva.” In addition, composer and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche contributes Three Parts Wisdom, a rhythmic and multilayered new work written for Maya. Hellhound, written for Maya by David T. Little, is based on legendary bluesman Robert Johnson’s “Hellhound On My Trail.”

The second half of All Vows delves into our inherent desire for ritual and meaning, and begins with Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz’s new Kol Nidrei for cello and prerecorded sounds, in which the full text is sung in Aramaic and also engages echos of ancient cantorial styles. Michael Gordon’s All Vows takes the Kol Nidrei as its starting point, and reimagines it entirely. Tsmindao Ghmerto (Holy God), arranged by Evan Ziporyn, is based on a 13th century Sanctus from the orthodox Georgian Liturgy. In Ziporyn’s arrangement, Maya’s voice and the voice of her cello weave a double helix of sanctity and intimacy. The text, sung in Hebrew, is Maya’s own adaptation of a poem by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. Composer Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops unveils every aspect of the cello— from its most mysterious harmonics to its earthiest, rhythmic pizzicatos—all utilizing “just intonation,” an ancient tuning system.

This performance is made possible by Dr. Irene Roth and by the Amphion Foundation. Washington Performing Arts performances at Sixth & I are made possible by the Abramson Family Foundation and by an anonymous gift in appreciation of Douglas Wheeler’s continuing efforts on behalf of Washington Performing Arts.

More Info: Artist's Website, Facebook, Twitter

Video: "Uncovered"