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.
Haimovitz’s recording career encompasses more than 20 years of award-winning work on Deutche Grammophon and his own Oxingale Records, the trailblazing independent label he founded with composer/producer Luna Pearl Woolf. 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). Next up from Oxingale is Akoka, a re-framing of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time on which the cellist will be joined by clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer and friends. Other recent releases include Haimovitz’s recording of cello concertos by Laura Schwendinger and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Moravec.
This season, having been the soloist in the world premiere recording of Philip Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi,” with the Cincinnati Symphony, Haimovitz looks forward to performing the concerto on a major European tour with the Basel Symphony and Dennis Russell Davies, as well as in Atlantic with the Emory University Symphony under Richard Prior. The 2013-2014 season also finds the cellist joining his close collaborator, pianist Christopher O’Riley, for a traversal of Beethoven’s complete sonatas for cello and piano on original instruments at the International Beethoven Project’s “Beethoven Festival: LOVE 2013” in Chicago. Their genre-defying program, “Shuffle.Play.Listen” breaks new ground with the introduction of works by the Russian “troika” of Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. In San Francisco and at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Haimovitz will lead his all-cello ensemble, Uccello, in AngelHeart: a multi-media performance project that features narrator Jeremy Irons and mezzo Frederica von Stade in Luna Pearl Woolf’s setting of a new story from bestselling children’s author Cornelia Funke. The cellist will also take part in “Celebrating Britten,” a festival honoring the English composer’s centennial at Trinity Wall Street. Haimovitz returns to the New York parish for an installment of “Beyond Bach,” his signature exploration of solo cello music, and revisits his all-Bach program, performing all six solo cello suites in a single day, in Washington, DC.
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.