Press Room

Haimovitz’s Shuffle.Play.Listen: high praise, showcase gigs

Cellist Matt Haimovitz has long been at the forefront of bridging the divide between the camps of classical and popular music, covering the likes of Jimi Hendrix and bringing Bach to rock clubs—before playing rock clubs was cool for classical types. Now high praise has been pouring in for Shuffle.Play.Listen, his boundary-blurring new double-album with pianist Christopher O’Riley. Reviews have declared the release “a landmark record” (Portland Press Herald), “a stimulating step forward” (All Music Guide) and “awfully persuasive… deeply connected” (Baltimore Sun). Released in September by Oxingale Records, the two-CD set juxtaposes 20th-century classics by Stravinsky, Janáček, Martinů, Piazzolla and Bernard Herrmann with bold arrangements by O’Riley of art-rock songs by the likes of Radiohead and Arcade Fire and the jazz-rock of John McLaughlin. In the new year, Haimovitz and O’Riley will continue to present Shuffle.Play.Listen in concerts across the country.
Features, reviews and postings on Shuffle.Play.Listen have ranged from SymphonyNOW to Stereogum, from Boston’s WGBH to WNYC’s Soundcheck. A reviewer for WTJU in Charlottesville, Virginia, enthused at length over Haimovitz’s new album: “One could enjoy Shuffle.Play.Listen as a well-curated (and superbly executed) recital of different genres of music being incorporated into a concert hall experience. Or you could just sit back and shuffle through a bunch of good tunes. I recommend lowering the lights and taking it all in on the best audio equipment you own.” And veteran U.K. critic Norman Lebrecht, for La Scena Musicale, said: “I can’t wait to play this CD to people a third of my age and set them guessing where it’s from. The categories are irrelevant. This is good music, fabulously played… This could well be the coolest classical disc of the year.”
In one of the most anticipated collaborations of the 2011-12 season, Haimovitz and O’Riley will tour extensively to play major concert series and university residencies across the U.S. Concerts of Shuffle.Play.Listen will include a January 5, 2012, performance at one of the country’s finest jazz clubs: Yoshi’s in San Francisco, a perfect setting for the duo to play the arrangement of Bernard Herrmann’s deeply lyrical, almost Wagnerian score to Hitchcock’s Vertigo (set in the city by the bay). The duo has been putting up videos from the recording sessions for the album on YouTube. See their extended improvisation on John McLaughlin’s Lotus on an Irish Spring here. Also posted on YouTube are videos of their performances of songs by Arcade Fire (“Empty Room”) and Blonde Redhead (“Misery Is a Butterfly”).
Haimovitz will also tour on his own in 2012, ranging from solo cello recitals to the concerti of Shostakovich and Saint-Saëns. The cellist will also give the U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2 (“Naqoyqatsi”) with the Cincinnati Symphony and Dennis Russell Davies (March 30-31). A Scotsman review of Haimovitz’s August performance with the Glass Ensemble accompanying the Godfrey Reggio film at the Edinburgh Festival described the cellist’s performance as “stunning.” Haimovitz describes playing the Glass concerto without the film: “It is achingly beautiful music that makes the images of violence and war barely palatable. It is an amazing experience to have the counterpoint, but I’m looking forward to being liberated from the visual element and able to express the essence of the music.”
Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O’Riley: upcoming duo performances
January 5, 2012
Yoshi’s, San Francisco, CA
January 18, 2012
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos, CA
January 22, 2012
Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
February 8, 2012
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
February 16, 2012
Tobias Theater, Indianapolis Museum of Arts, Indianapolis, IN
February 18, 2012
Lied Center of Kansas, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
March 24, 2012
GMU Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
April 15, 2012
Theater at Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh, PA

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