This February, cellist Matt Haimovitz, known as a “remarkable virtuoso” who “never turns in a predictable performance” (The New Yorker), launches a new collaboration with the acclaimed UK trio Voice in If Music Be the Food of Love, a Shakespeare-themed concert program spanning more than eight centuries – from Hildegard of Bingen to Leonard Cohen. Among the works exploring the beauty, heartache, and humor of love are Ned Rorem’s After Reading Shakespeare and three new works on Shakespeare texts. Haimovitz will also present the world premiere of a new work for solo cello, Es War, by American composer David Sanford, commissioned as an overture to Bach’s Cello Suite V. Haimovitz and Voice will appear in Urbana-Champaign on February 3; Portland, Maine on February 5; Burlington, Vermont on February 6; New Canaan, Connecticut on February 21; and Reston, Virginia on February 24.
“I love performing with singers as I rarely get a chance to work with words,” says Haimovitz. “It’s also a rare and wonderful opportunity to work with other musicians who are as comfortable and enthusiastic as I am about drawing from a thousand years of music.” If Music Be the Food of Love features a cornucopia of works inspired by Shakespeare, including original songs from Shakespeare’s time by Thomas Morley and selections from After Reading Shakespeare by Ned Rorem, which Haimovitz recorded in 2007. In addition, Haimovitz and Voice will perform three works on Shakespeare’s sonnet 60, “Like as the Waves,” by Božo Banović, Diana Rosenblum, and Filipe Sousa, winners of the 2014 Oxingale Records Composition Competition, aimed at building new repertoire for cello and usual ensembles.
The diverse program will also include works for solo cello including two of Haimovitz’s new Overtures to Bach project: Philip Glass‘ Prelude, followed by the Prelude from Bach Cello Suite I, and the new David Sanford Es War, with influences by Mingus and Coltrane, introducing the prelude to Cello Suite V. Haimovitz and Voice will also collaborate on a new arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s Who by fire by Luna Pearl Woolf.
Matt Haimovitz is emerging from a banner year that saw the launch the PENTATONE Oxingale series and three critically-acclaimed recordings: Beethoven, PERIOD.; Orbit; and The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena, his profound new interpretation of the Bach Suites inspired and informed by an authoritative manuscript by Anna Magdalena, Bach’s second wife. Gramophone, says: “Those who want to be challenged without compromising tone or tuning, both of which are impeccable here, should look no further,” and ICI Musique concurs, “Matt Haimovitz has made us well aware that this music is alive, breathes, and refuses to be walled up in a stylistic protective shell. And that is the greatest achievement of this exceptional musician.” February will also see the re-release of Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley’s Shuffle.Play.Listen on the PENTATONE Oxingale series. The genre-blurring double-album, deemed “a landmark record” (Portland Press Herald) and “a stimulating step forward” (All Music Guide), juxtaposes works by Stravinsky and Piazzolla with O’Riley’s arrangements of Radiohead and Arcade Fire. Haimovtz’s Overtures to Bach, which were premiered at a number of residencies including Miller Theatre in New York, will be released next fall.
Upcoming concert highlights include performances of Luna Pearl Woolf’s Après moi, le déluge with the Washington Chorus in Washington DC (February 28), an Overtures to Bach cycle at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (March 6-7), Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Pronto Musica in Montreal (March 10), Philip Glass’s Double Concerto with the National Orchestra of Spain in Madrid (April 16), Ginastera’s Cello Concerto #1 with NOVUS NY, conducted Julian Wachner at Trinity Wall Street (May 15) and a recital with pianist Christopher O’Riley at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival at USC in Los Angeles (May 20).
The vocal trio Voice (Emily Burn, Victoria Couper, and Clemmie Franks), formed in 2006, is a regular collaborator with composers, musicians, artists, and poets. Over the years, they have devised and commissioned a number of unique projects which they have performed across the UK, Europe, and the USA. Their recordings include Musical Harmony – “a stunning body of work destined to prick up the hairs on the back of one’s neck” (Oxford Times & Mail) – the English Medieval album I Have Set My Hert So Hy with the Dufay Collective; and the 2015 release Patterns of Love.