Long-recognized as a leading performer of cutting-edge music, Maya Beiser has helped redefine the cello as a solo instrument, both through her commitment to contemporary composers and her multicultural approach.
At 8 p.m. Feb. 12, the Israeli-born cellist will present a special, one-night-only concert titled “World to Come” as part of the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series.
Beiser, who spent eight years with the avant-garde ensemble Bang On A Can All-Stars, has collaborated with many of the world’s most renowned musicians, ranging from Academy-award winning composer Tan Dun — whose “Crouching Tiger Concerto” she has performed with orchestras around the globe — to Brian Eno and Trent Reznor.
“World to Come” (also the title of Beiser’s latest CD) will feature music by five contemporary composers. The program will begin with Arvo Pärt’s Fratres (1980), followed by a pair of commissioned works, Osvaldo Golijov’s Mariel (2001/2003) and Steve Reich’s Cello Counterpoint (2003). The program will conclude with Louis Andriessen’s La Voce (1981) and the titular work, David Lang’s four-part commission World to Come (2003).
Raised on a kibbutz by her French mother and Argentinean father, Beiser began performing at age 12 and made her American debut at 19. She holds degrees from the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv and Yale University, where she worked with Aldo Parisot. Other teachers include Uzi Wiesel, Alexander Schneider and Isaac Stern.
“I still start every day of practicing playing Bach,” Beiser writes in the liner notes to “World to Come.” “This music never ceases to sound fresh and surprising to me.
“But as I was moving away from the traditional classical repertoire and trying to find new ways of musical expression, I realized that with today’s technological resources, there is no reason to limit what can be produced at one time from a single string instrument. The power and coherency that comes from one person hearing, perceiving and playing all the voices, makes a very different experience.”
Beiser has appeared as a solo artist for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series; Carnegie Hall’s “Making Music”; the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series; and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Festival appearances include the Holland Festival, the BBC Proms, London’s South Bank Meltdown Festival, the Jerusalem Festival, the Adelaide Festival and the Prague Spring Festival.
Recent concerto appearances include concerts with the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Radio Berlin Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra and The Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Beiser has recorded for Koch International, Sony Classical, Cantaloupe Music and Nonesuch Records. The Los Angeles Times selected her CD Kinship as one of the 10 best classical discs of 2000, while Classic CD magazine called her “a searingly passionate player who surpasses all technical difficulties with ease.”
Beiser has received numerous honors for her commissions, including grants and awards from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Multi-Arts Fund, the Koussevitzky Foundation, Meet the Composer, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Edison Theatre programs are supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis.
Tickets — $28; $24 seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; and $18 for students and children — are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets.
For more information, call 935-6543.