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Musical World

Maya Beiser

  • Cellist


Maya Beiser reviews / press

…”Beiser’s performances also use lighting design and video projections… she offered a wide glimpse into the unique world she has created. Its most complete expression came in Steve Reich’s “Cello Counterpoint,’’ written for solo cello and seven prerecorded cellos…it was fascinating to see the other Beisers playing, swaying, and reacting to their own frenetic parts as the “real’’ one did so on stage. And it was delightfully odd when the piece hit a climactic moment to see only the filmed Beisers play, while the live one sat immobile, poised for her next entrance… The Celebrity Series of Boston deserves much credit for presenting the local solo debut of this adventurous artist”
David Weiniger, The Boston Globe
“…Ms. Beiser brought a breathy flexibility to the plaintive “Memories,” … “Mar de Leche” was soulful, playful and flamboyant…
she brought a muscular swagger to Led Zeppelin’s classic-rock war horse “Kashmir”, shaping the Arab-inspired melody with sinuous curves…”
Steve Smith, The New York Times
“She has big ideas, delivered with a sensually direct, immediate, and personal voice”
Joseph Woodard, The Santa Barbara independent
“Riveting… she plays the instrument with fervent panache… takes the cello well beyond traditional boundaries….”
Don Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
From Paramount Theater in Oakland, California:
“A supercellist…emotion-driven star actress with all the technical prowess you could ask for.”
“The dramatic soloist, playing with seething ferocity up until the touching final cadenza.”
From Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City:
“Intense… rich… powerful… Beiser in not the sort of musician who zigzags around the planet playing catalog music for polite and sleepy audience. She throws down a gauntlet in every program… The world compacted into Zankel Hall. Music gave Beiser the power to pluck the common utterance from regions thousands of miles apart.”
“The cellist Maya Beiser treats her concert programs as expansive, evening-length compositions… deep and rich, with a lush vibrato… Ms. Beiser’s rich-hued tone singing out from within a bed of sound loops…ranged from the insistently rhythmic to the meltingly lyrical.”
From the Akron Museum of Art of Akron, OH
“Riveting… a pioneer in her field… she plays the instrument with fervent panache. ”
From the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater in Chicago
“Not only does her warm, golden sound permeate even the most searing and challenging passages of the music she plays, but she appears to have the ease of a hip-hop turntable spin-meister when it comes to interacting with technology, so the music consistently remains the most crucial message…For despite Beiser’s lavish use of video, sampled and live voices, she never loses touch with the all-important human elemnet of live music.”
From the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
“The stately cello becomes a delicate singer in the hands of Maya Beiser.”
From Royce Hall in Los Angeles:
“Maya Beiser has striking, powerful presence… she is an exceptional cellist… A virtuoso, she often inspires other people’s music… Grippingly intense as ever Saturday, she gave the first local performances of important and terrific new solo cello pieces by Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Reich and David Lang that had been written for her… Beiser’s deep-toned, concentrated playing can always be counted on to enhance the mystical effect of whatever she performs… A video by Irit Batsry accompanied “World to Come” with abstract images of water. The effect was one of Beiser piloting her cello not on water but within a vaguely watery environment. You never quite knew where you were, visually or musically, but you knew that you were afloat, and that was a marvelously satisfying sensation.”
From the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia:
“Cellist Maya Beiser played a concert of all-new music for solo cello, multitrack tape and video with the kind of polish that allows clarity of intent and freedom in performance… with that sensual element consistently present, she projects a bright, forthright sound with a sturdy sense of line… Anytime a performer appears amid so much technology, the human-heat element can be lost . But that’s not possible with someone of Beiser’s commitment… her live presence gives a clear-cut foreground element to each piece… So it can be done – and with rock-star magnetism… It was an important night!”
“When cellist Maya Beiser plays, its real and its Memorex! Beiser’s style is elegant and intensely energetic with a sense of artistic showmanship that is neither aggrandizing nor artificial.”
From the Edison Theatre in St. Louis:
“The quality of Beiser’s classical background is not in question. She started out performing the standard repertoire, and her teachers included the esteemed violinist Isaac Stern… Beiser demonstrates not only her impressive cello skills but also her ability to make a cohesive musical statement…It’s as if we’re hearing an entire orchestra of cellos explore the contours of the composition. But Beiser’s embellishments never obscure the main theme, or dispel its yearning romanticism. Superlatively programmed, “World to Come” succeeds not only because of Beiser’s artistry but because it sustains its introspective mood without becoming wearying.”
From The Ravinia Festival in Chicago:
“…Beiser combines the best of two worlds. She is a classically trained cellist with the technical and interperative resources to draw whatever kind of music she wishes from her instrument. She also has a keen appreciation of stagecraft. Beiser has clearly decided that even the most tradition-bound audiences might respond to some onstage commentary in her low, sexy voice. They probably would be intrigued by her long, flowing locks and an all-white concert uniform of form-fitting pants and sleeveless top. On Tuesday night, her little bit of nightclub chanteuse, touch of downtown hipster and bounty of straight-up musical taste and musicianship added up to a concert that lingers in the memory.”
From Carnegie Hall in New York:
“If New York concertgoers are eager to know how Zankel Hall intends to distinguish itself from Carnegie Hall’s two other auditoriums, the solo cello recital by Maya Beiser provided a mesmerizing answer. Ms. Beiser, a champion of contemporary music with an ardent following, is drawn to composers whose work, often written for her, use video imagery, lighting effects and recorded elements. Zankel Hall proved an ideal environment for Ms. Beiser’s multimedia program….. she was vigorously cheered by the packed house.”
From the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.:
“Maya Beiser’s recital at the Kennedy Center attested to the validity of using pop techniques to expand the standard chamber recital format….. her playing, both live and canned, throbbed with vitality and sounded as comfortable in the slithering harmonics of Arvo Part “Fratres” as in the romantic melodies and restless, dead-ending figures rippling through David Lang’s compelling ‘World To Come.’”
“Forget the traditional offerings of Bach and Brahms. Maya Beiser, the hot young cello diva of the avant-garde, puts together hip global programs of purely 21st-century music, pushing her instrument to its limits. She embraces amplification, revels in multimedia and likes to punch up the bland stage of the recital hall with visual drama. Her musical appetite is voracious, and top composers from Steve Reich to Osvaldo Golijov have lined up to write for her. In short, she’s out to shake the classical world by its neck…”
From On the Boards in Seattle:
“She is hip, adventuresome and, yes, talented….. Her playing was astonishing –amazingly rich, evocative and remarkably beautiful.”
From the Mexico City Music Festival:
“Maya Beiser dazzles with her cello.”
“It is rare to find a musical performer who cares more about the music than about his/her ego, but it is even more rare to find a fine performer who is committed to the music of his/her own time. Maya Beiser is such a performer…… Difficulties do not exist for Ms. Beiser ….. but rather an outpouring of brilliant virtuoso playing. ”
“The virtuosic queen of the post-minimalist cello, carves out new turf in solo performance. A web of taped interplay, electronic processing and vocalizing overlays the sound of her cello to create a sensuous, swirling fog of sound… a startlingly immediate and passionate performance.”
“Maya Beiser is peerless— a kind of modern hipness without compromising the music or the performance… Beiser’s taste and musicality are flawless.”
“…the music is theatrical and Beiser is the perfect protagonist for it. She is an intense and dazzling player with a striking stage presence.”
“She is formidably gifted, with a natural sense of the great, knife-edge drama of a musical performance. Beiser can play anything…”
“It was a musical and theatrical experience not to be missed… this is what a major festival ought to do: present a performer of the highest quality. Maya Beiser regrettably gave only two performances at the Sydney Festival…”
“Not only insanely talented, but also curiously innovative, Maya Beiser is pushing the limits of what cello playing can be.”
“Label Beiser’s music if you dare. The common denominator is her quest for the abundant beauty, pathos, humor, eeriness and pure feeling her instrument is capable of.”
“…she went at the incredibly challenging cello solo like a rock guitarist, playing its slides, plucked notes, double stops and other difficulties with style and abandon.”