Maya Beiser

Describing cellist, producer, and multifaceted creator Maya Beiser, The New York Times writes, “The adventurous Ms. Beiser has been called the ‘cello goddess,’ which is not hyperbole: She summons from her instrument an emotional power so stirring that even the most stoic audience members risk turning into sobbing sacks of flesh.” Passionately forging her artistic path through uncharted territories, Maya Beiser has been captivating audiences worldwide, bringing a bold and unorthodox presence to contemporary classical music, experimenting and defying conventional norms with her boundary-crossing performances. Hailed as “the reigning queen of avant-garde cello” by The Washington Post, she has been called a “cello rock star,” by Rolling Stone and praised as “a force of nature,” by The Boston Globe.

Raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, by her Argentinean father and French mother, Maya spent her early life surrounded by the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, while studying classical cello repertoire. At the age of 12, she was discovered by the late violinist Isaac Stern who became her mentor throughout her early career. Reinventing solo cello performance in the mainstream arena, Maya is a featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, London’s Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, the Sydney Opera House, the Beijing Festival, Barcelona’s L’Auditori, Paris’ Cité de la Musique, and Stockholm’s Concert Hall. Among the wide range of artists with whom she has collaborated are Louis Andriessen, Philip Glass, Tan Dun, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Mark Anthony-Turnage, Shirin Neshat, Erin Cressida-Wilson, Bill Morrison, Robert Woodruff, Missy Mazolli, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Evan Ziporyn, Pontus Lidberg, Wendy Whelan, Lucinda Childs, and Joe Hisaishi.

Maya’s critically acclaimed solo multimedia productions World To Come, Almost Human, and Provenance, were commissioned by Carnegie Hall and chosen for top critics’ “Best Of The Year” lists. Her multimedia productions Elsewhere: A Cello Opera, and All Vows, premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, garnering rave reviews from critics and audience alike. Other recent highlights include featured solo performances at the Barbican’s Sound Unbound and Kings Place’s Cello Unwrapped festivals in London, the Cello Biennale in Amsterdam, Festival MANN in Naples, Italy and Strings for Autumn Festival in Prague; two new concerto premieres, Mohammed Fairouz’s cello concerto with the Detroit Symphony and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Maya with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar, a collaboration with Evan Ziporyn that reimagines David Bowie’s complete final album as a cello concerto, with performances in Boston, Barcelona, and New York’s Central Park SummerStage followed by a U.S. tour; Spinning, a collaboration with composer Julia Wolfe and visual artist Laurie Olinder, commissioned and premiered by Peak Performances at Montclair State University; her debut solo performance at the BBC Proms; and premiere performances of a cello concerto by the celebrated Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi at Carnegie Hall and in Tokyo, Japan.

Over her decades of trailblazing career she has performed at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Celebrity Series in Boston, Ojai Music Festival, International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, and numerous major venues and festivals in Paris, Amsterdam, Torino, Milano, Tokyo, Taipei, Athens, Mexico City, Havana, Bogota and Adelaide, to name a few. She has appeared with many of the world’s top orchestras performing new works for the cello including the Detroit Symphony, Montreal Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Boston Pops, Sydney Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Nashville Symphony, China Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, Barcelona Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, among many others.

Maya was in the midst of an international 20 cities tour of her production THE DAY, when the COVID pandemic hit. THE DAY, a music and dance star-studded collaboration with Wendy Whelan choreographed by Lucinda Childs with music by David Lang, which premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in August 2019, will resume live performances in the spring of 2022 with a three-night run at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Maya’s vast discography includes fourteen solo albums. In her latest album, Maya Beiser x Philip Glass, she creates a multi-layered cello sound sculpture, unveiling new dimensions in some of Philip Glass’s most profound works. Released in July 2021, the album topped the classical music charts, following the success as her previous albums: Bowie Cello Symphonic Blackstar (2020), delugEON (2019), Tranceclassical (2016), Uncovered (2014) and Provenance (2012). She is the featured soloist on many film soundtracks, including an extensive collaboration with composer James Newton Howard for M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening and After Earth, Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters, Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, and Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman. Her performance of Lang’s world to come IV has been featured on the soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar winning film, La Grande Bellezza.

Maya Beiser is a United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow in Music; a Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; and was a Presenting Artist at the inaugural CultureSummit in Abu Dhabi. Invited to present at the prestigious TED main stage in Long Beach, CA, Maya’s TED Talk has been watched by over one million people and translated to 32 languages. She has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and All Things Considered, PBS News Hour, and the BBC World News. Maya is a graduate of Yale University and a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

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