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. 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.
Along with the world premiere in Cincinnati, Haimovitz gave the European premiere of the Glass Concerto on a major European tour in Spring 2014 with the Basel Symphony at the invitation of Maestro Dennis Russell Davies. The next scheduled performance of the work will take place in 2016 for the Canadian premiere with the Montreal Symphony and Maestro Kent Nagano. Haimovitz continues his relationship with Emory University (Atlanta) in Fall 2014 with a world premiere performance of Richard Prior’s new Cello Concerto with the Emory University Orchestra and the composer at the podium. The 2014-2015 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 period instruments in a new album release and tour throughout North America, including performances at the MET Museum in NYC, and Salle Bourgie at the Beaux Arts Museum in Montreal, as well as a residency at the SF Conservatory. In Fall 2013, for Berkeley’s Cal performances and at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Haimovitz led 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 production tours to the LA Opera in Napa’s Festival de Sole in Spring and Summer 2015. Throughout the season Haimovitz continues his Bach Listening Room solo performances, sharing his new discoveries performing Bach on baroque cello and cello piccolo, as well as premiering important new solo works by Philip Glass and others.
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.