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ARTIST PROFILE

Matt Haimovitz and Jean Marchand

SAINT PAUL SUNDAY APPEARANCES

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BIOGRAPHY

Cellist Matt Haimovitz has established himself as one of classical music's most adventurous artists, equally at ease playing the masterworks for his instrument in solo, chamber and concerto performances in leading concert halls as in bringing classical music to new listeners in alternative venues. A critic for The Seattle Times captured the spirit of Haimovitz's artistry in writing that "The great part about Haimovitz's own cello playing is thatÖthe sturdy and robust mingle in magically with the delicate, lyrical and creative." A teacher, a record label entrepreneur, and a celebrated performer, Haimovitz manifests his love of music not only in the seriousness with which he approaches his work but also with his warm demeanor and the natural expressiveness of his playing.

On September 11, 2003, Haimovitz began a 50-state tour of the United States in support of his new album, "Anthem," a celebration of living American composers. Of his recent "Anthem" appearance, Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, Haimovitz "has been busy reinventing the classical recital for the new millennium." Chris Pasles of the Los Angeles Times adds, "Hearing a cello played with such fervor and commitment - not to mention high artistry - in a small venue is a priceless experience." And Craig Smith of the Santa Fe New Mexican concurs, "A small, rapt audience heard a major bard Thursday at The Paramount: cellist Matt Haimovitz. Playing solo works by contemporary American composers as well as selections from Bach's solo cello suites, Haimovitz wove a glorious web of sound and intent that both caressed and startled us. It was major music-making all the way." The "Anthem" Tour has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered' and "To the Best of Our Knowledge," and has already received attention from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes FYI, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and many other print publications. The tour continues throughout the US, expanding to Canada, Korea, and European capitals through 2004. In 2004, the American Music Center has awarded Haimovitz one of its highest distinctions, the Trailblazer Award, for his far-reaching contribution to American music.

In recent seasons, Haimovitz has made headlines with his path-breaking performances of Bach's inexhaustibly rich "6 Suites for Cello Solo." In 2000 Haimovitz participated in the 250th anniversary celebrations of J.S. Bach's death with a live television broadcast of the solo suites at the Schwetzingen Castle in Germany, and a recording of the works for his own Oxingale label. He subsequently struck a nerve in the music world with his unprecedented Bach Listening-Room Tour, taking Bach's beloved cello suites out of the concert hall and performing them in intimate venues and music clubs across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., to great acclaim. The tour, which has sold out nearly every performance, has been profiled on National Public Radio's 'Performance Today' and PRI's 'The World,' as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Haimovitz was the first classical artist to play at New York's infamous CBGB club, in a performance that was filmed by ABC News for its half-hour feature program, 'Nightline UpClose', and featured in the Wall Street Journal. Among the rave reviews for Haimovitz's Listening-Room Tour, LA Times critic Mark Swed writes, "In these experiments, Haimovitz has, indeed, recaptured the freshness in music making. There is nothing like the intimacy of hearing great music in a close, casual environment, and Monday night the cellist seemed to absorb as much energy from the crowd as we did from him." Philadelphia Inquirer critic David Patrick Stearns remarks, "If playing Bach in the Old City folk club the Tin Angel was an experiment, cellist Matt Haimovitz succeeded Monday in ways that say as much about the needs of the music-loving public as his extraordinary talent."

Born in Israel, 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 France's Grand Prix du Disque (1991) and Diapason d'Or (1991). He has also received the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts from Harvard University (1996) and was the first cellist 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, Connoisseur, Gramophone, Strings and Strad magazines. He has been the subject of full-length televised features on CBS' "Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt" and Germany's ZDF, and has appeared on PBS' "Salute to the Arts", and "Nova".

In 1984, Haimovitz made his debut with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta performing Saint-SaŽns's Cello Concerto No. 1 in a televised appearance. Since then he has performed with such conductors as James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Semyon Bychkov, Myung-Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and David Zinman. He has appeared in North America with many of the great symphony orchestras and philharmonic organizations, including those of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, as well as internationally with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, 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, Haimovitz collaborates with distinguished musicians of several generations. A notable performance of Schubert's two-cello quintet at Carnegie Hall was a turning point for Haimovitz who, at age 13, replaced his teacher Leonard Rose at short 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 Schleswig-Holstein. Together with Mr. Mintz and pianist Itamar Golan, he has explored the complete cycle of Beethoven piano trios, as well as an all-Shostakovich program of piano trios and other chamber works. Matt Haimovitz performs and records regularly with Mr. Golan.

Recording has been an integral part of Haimovitz's musical life since his early days as a prodigy. Haimovitz's latest release "Anthem," is a tapestry of solo cello works by living American composers, including several new commissions and many first recordings from Osvaldo Golijov, Luna Pearl Woolf, Lou Harrison, Tod Machover, Steven Mackey, David Sandford, Robert Stern, Augusta Read Thomas, and Toby Twining. The album, on the Oxingale label distributed internationally by Artemis Classics. takes its name from Haimovitz's arrangement of Jimi Hendrix's "The Star Spangled Banner." It has been picked as the Best Instrumental Album of 2003 by Amazon.com. "The Rose Album" on Oxingale Records, is a reminiscence, through musical associations, of Haimovitz's teacher and mentor, the legendary American cellist, Leonard Rose. This critically acclaimed album features Haimovitz and Golan performing works by Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Paganini, and Robert Stern. Also included is a performance of David Popper's Requiem for Three Cellos and Piano, in which Haimovitz is joined by cellists Sara Sant'Ambrogio and Zuill Bailey, and pianist Navah Perlman. Another recent Oxingale release is Tod Machover's "Hyperstring Trilogy," in which Haimovitz performs on the MIT Media Lab's Hypercello. The trilogy also includes performances by Ani Kavafian, Kim Kashkashian, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose.

Matt Haimovitz's acclaimed recording of J.S. Bach's Six Suites for Cello Solo, also on Oxingale, was nominated for an INDIE AWARD by the AFIM and is the winner of a Just Plain Folks Award for Best Classical Recording of 2001. It has been chosen as a "Top Pick" by U.S. News & World Report and has been featured in Billboard, Gramophone, The New Criterion, and other publications. Haimovitz performs on the Oxingale release, "Lemons Descending - Music o Poetry o Etchings" and the "Lemons Descending" album. The richly-limned collection of music for voice and cello includes works by Hildegard von Bingen, Heitor Villa-Lobos, John Tavener, William Sydeman and Luna Pearl Woolf, setting the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Anna Akhmatova, and others. Haimovitz also contributes one track on guitarist John McLaughlin's recent album "Thieves and Poets" (Universal).

Matt Haimovitz's ten-year exclusive recording relationship with the Deutsche Grammophon label (DGG) has resulted in six acclaimed recordings documenting his development from a cellist firmly rooted in the romantic virtuoso tradition to an artist unafraid to delve into all corners of the contemporary imagination. His 1989 debut recording of Saint-SaŽns, Bruch and Lalo with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was lauded by Gramophone Magazine as heralding "the arrival of a new star in the cello firmament." Following a recording of Boccherini, C.P.E. Bach, and Haydn concertos with Sir Andrew Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra, 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 composers Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Mario Davidovsky, Henri Dutilleux, John Harbison, Hans Werner Henze, GyŲrgy Ligeti, and George Perle, with whom Haimovitz consulted closely before and during the recording of each work. "Portes Ouvertes," recorded in part with pianist Philippe Cassard, was released in 1999 and includes music for cello and piano by Anton Webern, Claude Debussy and Britten.

In addition to the traditional and contemporary classical repertoire, Matt Haimovitz has long been fascinated by the art of improvisation. The most frequently cited of these 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 on the GRP Records label, entitled "Trios". Other artists featured on the album are Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Elvis Costello and Branford Marsalis. Haimovitz first began improvising with composer/electric guitarist Steve Mackey in Sunete de Sate, a piece for electric guitar and cello. On the Oxingale Records release "Lemons Descending," Haimovitz improvises with soprano Eileen Clark on Pablo Neruda's Ode to the Lemon, and his upcoming album, "Anthem," features a solo cello improvisation on the vespers melody Truth from Above.

Alongside his performing and recording activities, Haimovitz is committed to teaching. Following five years as the head of the cello program at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), he is currently Professor of Cello at McGill University in Montreal.