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Matt Haimovitz | Christopher O'Riley: Bio

Renowned as a musical pioneer, cellist Matt Haimovitz has inspired classical music lovers and countless new listeners by bringing his artistry to concert halls and clubs, outdoor festivals and intimate coffee houses, any place where passionate music can be heard. He brings a fresh ear to familiar repertoire, champions new music and initiates groundbreaking collaborations as well as creating innovative recording projects for Oxingale Records. Besides his relentless touring schedule, he mentors an award-winning studio of young cellists at McGill University's Schulich School of Music in Montreal. Through his visionary approach, Haimovitz is re-defining what it means to be an artist for the 21st century.

Haimovitz made his debut in 1984, at the age of 13, as soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. At 17 he made his first recording with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for Deutsche Grammophon. He has gone on to perform on the world's most esteemed stages, with such orchestras and conductors as the Berlin Philharmonic with James Levine, the New York Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta, the English Chamber Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim, the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra with Kent Nagano. Haimovitz made his Carnegie Hall debut when he substituted for his teacher, the legendary Leonard Rose, in Schubert's String Quintet in C, alongside Isaac Stern, Shlomo Mintz, Pinchas Zukerman and Mstislav Rostropovich.

The solo cello recital is a Haimovitz trademark, both inside and outside the concert hall. In 2000, he made waves with his Bach "Listening-Room" Tour, for which, to great acclaim, Haimovitz took Bach's beloved cello suites out into the clubs across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Haimovitz's 50-state Anthem tour in 2003 celebrated living American composers and featured the cellist's own arrangement of Jimi Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner." He was the first classical artist to play at New York's infamous CBGB club, in a performance filmed by ABC News for Nightline UpClose.

In 2015, Haimovitz premieres six new works as part of a major residency at NYC's Miller Theater. The new Overtures to Bach serve as preludes to each of the 6 Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach. Composers commissioned for Overtures to Bach include Philip Glass, Du Yun, Vijay Iyer, Roberto Sierra, Mohammed Fairouz, and Luna Pearl Woolf.

Haimovitz's recording career encompasses more than 20 years of award-winning work on Deutche Grammophon and his and composer/producer Luna Pearl Woolf's own trailblazing independent label Oxingale Records, now in collaboration with PentaTone Classics. Two recent Oxingale albums have been nominated for Juno Awards and a third, Meeting of the Spirits, was nominated for a GRAMMY® for Best Classical Crossover Album and won a GRAMMY® for Best Producer of the Year (Classical). BEETHOVEN, Period, a traversal of the Beethoven Sonatas and Variations for Piano and Cello on period instruments with Christopher O'Riley was an Editor's Choice pick, and one of the top-10 Beethoven albums of recent times, at Gramophone Magazine. 2015 sees the release of two important solo albums: ORBIT, an expansive 3-SACD compilation of Haimovitz' solo cello work of the last fifteen years and J.S. Bach The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena Bach, a recording of the beloved Cello Suites on baroque cello and cello piccolo. Other recent releases include Haimovitz's recording of cello concertos by Laura Schwendinger and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Moravec. Haimovitz's recording of Philip Glass's Cello Concerto No. 2, "Naqoyqatsi," with the Cincinnati Symphony and Dennis Russell Davies, recorded live in Cincinnati has received universal acclaim.


In 2006, Haimovitz received the Concert Music Award from ASCAP for his advocacy of living composers and pioneering spirit, and in 2004, the American Music Center awarded Haimovitz the Trailblazer Award, for his far-reaching contributions to American music. Born in Israel, Haimovitz has also been honored with the Avery Fisher Career Grant (1986), the Grand Prix du Disque (1991), the Diapason d'Or (1991) and he is the first cellist ever to receive the prestigious Premio Internazionale "Accademia Musicale Chigiana" (1999). Haimovitz studied at the Collegiate School in New York and at the Juilliard School, in the final class of Leonard Rose, after which he continued his cello studies with Ronald Leonard and Yo-Yo Ma. In 1996, he received a B.A.magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard University. Matt Haimovitz plays a Venetian cello, made in 1710 by Matteo Gofriller.


Acclaimed for his engaging and deeply committed performances, the pianist Christopher O'Riley is known to millions as the host of NPR's From the Top.  His repertoire spans a kaleidoscopic array of music from the pre-baroque to present-day.  He performs around the world and has garnered widespread praise for his untiring efforts to reach new audiences.

Now in his fifteenth year on air, Christopher O'Riley introduces the next generation of classical-music stars to almost a million listeners each week on From the Top, broadcast by 250 stations across the United States.  O'Riley also hosted the Emmy Award-winning television series From the Top at Carnegie Hall, and has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Midori, Béla Fleck, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Sir James Galway, Michael Feinstein, and many more.

Christopher O'Riley has performed as a soloist with virtually all of the major American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony.  He led the Academy of St Martin in the Fields on a two-week tour of ten American cities performing concertos by Bach, Mozart, and Liszt.  He also performed Górecki and Michael Daugherty's Le Tombeau de Liberace in a series of concerts with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and toured throughout the United Kingdom with the Moscow Philharmonic.  He has worked with such renowned conductors as Alan Gilbert, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Hugh Wolff, and many others.  In addition, O'Riley has performed recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia.

Living by the Duke Ellington adage "There are only two kinds of music, good music and bad," O'Riley – a proponent of the former in all of its guises – has received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and an equally coveted four-star review from Rolling Stone magazine.  O'Riley strives to introduce new audiences to classical music with an almost missionary zeal by performing piano arrangements of music by Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana alongside traditional classical repertoire.  He has performed recitals featuring these arrangements at such diverse venues as the Istanbul Jazz Festival, Highline Ballroom (NYC), the Knitting Factory (LA), and South by Southwest (Austin, TX).

O'Riley also tours with a program called Shuffle.Play.Listen together with the cellist Matt Haimovitz that combines classical and contemporary repertoire; a program called Two to Tango together with Pablo Ziegler featuring new compositions and arrangements based on the music of Astor Piazzolla; and one called Out of My Hands featuring music from many genres in a program that is announced from the stage.  He has collaborated for many years in recitals with the flutist Sir James Galway and cellist Carter Brey.

A prolific recording artist, O'Riley has recorded the music of Beethoven, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Liszt, Ravel, Gershwin, Debussy, and John Adams for Sony Classical, Oxingale Records, RCA Red Seal, Decca, and Harmonia Mundi.  His most recent solo recording featured two discs of Liszt's transcriptions, including songs by Schumann and Schubert, the opera paraphrase on Mozart's "Don Giovanni," the Don Juan Fantasy, and Liszt's own transcription of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, liberally re-imagined by O'Riley.

Also a voracious reader, Christopher O'Riley has developed a number of projects combining music and literature.  He has composed scores for works of Mark Z. Danielewski and Kris Saknussemm.  Most recently, O'Riley collaborated with the choreographer Martha Clarke on "Vers la Flamme," a fully-staged production with six dancers based on short stories of Anton Chekhov set to the music of Alexander Scriabin.  This program was performed at Lincoln Center, The American Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow Festival, and the Kennedy Center.

O'Riley was recently named Music Director of the Tippet Rise Art Center, a 12,000 acre center outside Fishtail, MT where the first season of concerts takes place Summer of 2016.

Matt Haimovitz | Christopher O'Riley



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1 Vertigo Suite: Prelude  
2 Pohadka (Fairy Tale): I  
3 Pohadka (Fairy Tale): II  
4 Pohadka (Fairy Tale): III  
5 Vertigo Suite: The Nightmare  
6 Variations on a Slovak Folksong  
7 Vertigo Suite: Carlotta's Portrait  
8 Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella): Introduzione  
9 Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella): Serenata  
10 Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella): Aria  
11 Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella): Tarantella  
12 Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella): Minuetto e Fin  
13 Vertigo Suite: Scotty Trails Madeline  
14 Le Grand Tango  
15 Vertigo Suite: Scene d'amour  
16 Empty Room  
17 Pyramid Song  
18 Athol Brose  
19 The Dance of Maya  
20 Misery is a Butterfly  
21 Weird Fishes/Arpeggi  
22 Fotzepolitic  
23 Melody  
24 3 Libras  
25 Heaven or Las Vegas  
26 In the Backseat  
27 A Lotus on Irish Streams  
Arcade Fire's Empty Room - Played by Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O'Riley - live recording session
Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O'Riley: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Cellist Matt Haimovitz & pianist Christopher O'Riley have made one of year's true event recordings with Shuffle.Play.Listen, which blurs the often artificial, outmoded boundaries that divide classical and popular music. Released by Oxingale Records as a double-album CD set, Shuffle.Play.Listen sees the groundbreaking, Grammy-nominated Haimovitz team with O'Riley (host of the popular NPR and PBS weekly program "From the Top") to juxtapose 20th-century classics by Stravinsky, Janacek, Martinu, Piazzolla and Bernard Hermann with versions of art-rock songs by the likes of Radiohead and Arcade Fire and the jazz-rock of John McLaughlin, in boldly imaginative cello-piano arrangements by O'Riley. Prior to its physical CD release, Shuffle.Play.Listen will be available exclusively via Amazon's MP3 site on Sept. 1, with the full digital album offered at a reduced price and a free track offered for preview the Prelude from Hermann's Vertigo suite.

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Crossover Media Projects with: Matt Haimovitz | Christopher O'Riley