Described by the The New Yorker as a "cello goddess" and by the San Francisco Chronicle as "the virtuosic queen of post-minimalist cello," Maya Beiser has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument's boundaries.
Over the past decade, she has created a new repertoire for cello, commissioning and performing many works written for her by today's leading composers. Most recently, Maya has collaborated with composers Louis Andriessen, Tan Dun, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Reich, and Simon Shaheen, among many others. Maya has toured as the featured soloist of Philip Glass's Naqoygatsi with the Philip Glass ensemble, having appeared recently at the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan, and in Barcelona, Paris, and San Francisco.
Maya's critically acclaimed multimedia concert "World To Come" premiered in October 2003 as part of the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall's new venue, Zankel Hall. Highlights of her 2005 "World To Come" tour included performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, UCLA's Royce Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. She has premiered her new project, "Almost Human" at Carnegie' Zankel Hall to a sold out house on March 2006, a concert chosen by The New York Times critics as among the "Best of 2006". The 2006/07 season will include her debut performance at London's Barbican Hall, a return appearances at the Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, as well as concerts at major venues in Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle.
Maya's performance of Steve Reich's Cello Counterpoint is featured on the recent Nonesuch CD "You Are," chosen by The New York Times as one of the top albums of 2005. She is also the soloist on the Sony Classical CD release of Tan Dun's "Water Passion," and has performed his Academy Award-winning score Crouching Tiger Concerto with orchestras around the globe. She has released three solo CD's with Koch Classics including "Oblivion", "Kinship" and "World To Come". Her latest CD "Almost Human", will be released on the Koch label in April 2007.
Raised on a kibbutz in Israel by her French mother and Argentinean father, Maya Beiser is a graduate of Yale University. Her major teachers were Aldo Parisot, Uzi Weizel, Alexander Schneider, and Isaac Stern. Maya was the founding cellist of the legendary new music ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Recent Review Articles:
From Chicago's MCA:
"Exceptional.Gorgeous.Haunting.Not only does her warm, golden sound permeate even the most searing and challenging passages of 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, and electronic multitracks, she never loses touch with the all-important human element of live music."
CHICAGO SUN TIMES
From The Kennedy Center:
"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.
THE WASHINGTON POST
From Carnegie Hall:
"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 Carnegie's Zankel Hall. Music gave Beiser the power to pluck the common utterance from regions thousands of miles apart.
NEWSDAY [March 11, 2006]
From Carnegie Zankel Hall:
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. .
THE NEW YORK TIMES
From Royce Hall in Los Angeles:
"Maya Beiser has striking, powerful presence. she is an exceptional cellist. A virtuoso. Her deep-toned, concentrated playing can always be counted on to enhance the mystical effect of whatever she performs.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
From the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia:
"Sensual.with rock-star magnetism. It was an important night!
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
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."
THE CHICAGO SUN
From Seattle's On The Board:
"She is hip, adventuresome and, yes, talented. Her playing is astonishing --amazingly rich, evocative and remarkably beautiful."
THE SEATTLE POST
From the Boston Globe:
Review of latest album "Almost Human:
Out on the edge with her cello
July 24, 2007
Essential: "I Am Writing to You From a Far off Country"
"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. The Israeli-American cellist is known for imaginative concerts of hip modern music from around the world, which she often punches up with amplification and visual theatrics. So an album might seem a little anticlimactic, but the new "Almost Human" is anything but. It's anchored by Eve Beglarian's luminous, 40-minute "I Am Writing to You From a Far off Country," a collaboration with Beiser for cello, vocals, electronics, and a surrealistic text by Henri Michaux. Narrated by Beiser, the text unfurls as a letter describing a "far off country from the end of the world" where the sun shines only once a month, lions roam the street, the trees tremble, and women cower with tightened throats. But Beglarian complements the writer's existential angst not with noisy sturm und drang but with haunting atmospheric vocals (sung by Alexandra Montano), keening modal melodies from Beiser's cello, and catchy rhythmic grooves that suggest a place exotic yet somehow familiar. Don't try to make sense of it -- just listen with closed eyes and enjoy the journey. [Karen Campbell].
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"The virtuosic queen of the post-minimalist cello."