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Musical World

Matt Haimovitz

  • Cellist


Matt Haimovitz: The breadth of his repertoire today is rich and ever expanding. Informed by historical performance practice, Mr. Haimovitz approaches familiar pieces with a fresh ear and open mind, allowing them to speak to us anew with insightful lyricism and emotion. With equal focus, he also embraces new music and 20th century pieces.
Mr. Haimovitz works closely with living composers, engaging in their compositional process, thereby communicating with a direct passion the essence of each work. All over the globe, from New York's Lincoln Center to the Beijing Concert Hall, from a remote Kibbutz in northern Israel to Vienna's Musikverein, Matt Haimovitz' performances create an aura of intimacy between himself and the listener which is as captivating as it is organic. Born in Israel, Mr. Haimovitz has been honored internationally by his colleagues and critics with awards such as the Avery Fisher Career Grant (1986).
His recording "Suites and Sonatas for Solo Cello" was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque (1991) and le Diapason d'Or (1991). He has also received the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts from Harvard University (1996) and was the first cellist ever to receive the prestigious Premio Internazionale "Accademia Musicale Chigiana" (1999) for artistry and achievement. Matt Haimovitz has been featured in numerous publications, including Newsweek, The New Yorker, People, and Connoisseur. He has been the subject of full length televised features on CBS' "Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt" and Germany's ZDF station and has appeared on PBS' "Salute to the Arts" and "Nova".
Most recently, Mr. Haimovitz participated in celebrating the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach's death with a performance of the solo Bach Suite cycle at the Schwetzingen castle. This performance was filmed live by the German SWR station and has been broadcast nationally as part of a Bach tribute. Mr. Haimovitz has been deeply influenced by the early mentoring of Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, and James Levine. He has also performed with such conductors as Semyon Bychkov, Myun Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Guiseppe Sinopoli, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and David Zinman. He has appeared in North America with many of the great symphony orchestras and philharmonics including those of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, as well as worldwide with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Radio Orchestras of Frankfurt, Cologne, Leipzig and Hanover, the Israel Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Beijing Opera Orchestra, and many others. In addition to his extensive concerto appearances, Mr. Haimovitz has been strongly impacted by collaborations with distinguished musicians.
A notable performance of Schubert's cello quintet at Carnegie Hall was a turning point for Haimovitz who, at age 15, replaced his teacher Leonard Rose at a moment's notice, joining Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Shlomo Mintz, and Pinchas Zukerman. This performance was followed by a personal invitation from Mr. Stern to join him, Cho-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, Michael Tree and Yo-Yo Ma in both Brahms Sextets at Tanglewood and Carnegie Hall. Matt Haimovitz has gone on to perform at the world's most celebrated chamber music festivals including those of Marlboro, Aspen, Lucerne and Shleswig Holstein. Concurrently, Matt Haimovitz performs extensively with pianist Itamar Golan presenting the complete works for cello and piano of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Enescu.
Together with Mr. Mintz and Mr. Golan, with whom he tours regularly, he has explored among other repertoire the complete cycle of Beethoven piano trios, as well as an all-Shostakovich program of piano trios and other chamber works. Never shy to challenge himself with new artistic horizons, Matt Haimovitz has been enriched by the musical choreography of Mark Morris, the adventurous innovations of Tod Machover and improvisations with various artists. Mr. Haimovitz has worked with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Lou Harrison's "Rhymes with Silver" and Robert Schumann's "Five Pieces in Folkstyle" in New York, Boston, Seattle, London and Genoa. At the first ever Lincoln Center Festival in 1996, Mr. Haimovitz gave the New York premiere of Tod Machover's work "Begin Again, AgainŠ‰", playing the newly developed Hypercello; he subsequently recorded the source material for Machover's composition "Meteor Drone", now on permanent display at Meteorite, an interactive museum in Essen, Germany.
Most notably documented of his improvisational forays are his two improvisations on Romanian folk tunes with jazz bassist Rob Wasserman and former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud for Wasserman's album entitled Trios which also features Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Elvis Costello and Branford Marsalis on the GRP Records label. Matt Haimovitz' ten year exclusive recording relationship with the Deutsche Grammophon (DG) label has resulted in six acclaimed recordings which document his development from a cellist firmly rooted in the romantic virtuoso tradition to an artist not afraid to delve into all corners of the contemporary imagination. Mr. Haimovitz' recordings have received universal praise for their deep expressiveness, interpretive acumen, flawless technique and burnished tone. His 1989 debut recording of Saint-Saens, Bruch and Lalo with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was lauded by Gramaphone Magazine as heralding "the arrival of a new star in the cello firmament." Following a recording of Boccherini, C.P.E. Bach, and Haydn concerti with Sir Andrew Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Haimovitz embarked on a four album journey through the 20th Century repertoire for unaccompanied cello.
The recordings encompass the complete solo works of Benjamin Britten, the Kodaly Solo Sonata, and works by Max Reger, Paul Hindemith and Roger Sessions. Also represented are living composers Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Mario Davidovsky, Henri Dutilleux, John Harbison, Hans Werner Henze