Matt Haimovitz brought a delicious feast of cello music to ETSU this last week as part of his series “The Bach Suites: A Moveable Feast.”
According to Anita DeAngelis, the Director of the Martin B. Mary School of the Arts, Haimovitz arrived at ETSU on Halloween evening. He spent the next day holding free concerts around Johnson City, including one in Sherrod Library. On Thursday, Nov. 2, he performed a two and a half hour show in the D.P. Culp Auditorium to an audience of enthusiastic cello fans and ETSU Music Department faculty and students.
According to DeAngelis, Haimovitz’s visit was very rewarding for the students.
“It’s really important for our community to connect with musicians like Haimovitz,” said DeAngelis. “We really appreciate that he’s here.”
Originally from Israel, Haimovitz was a child prodigy who made his debut with the Israel Philharmonic at the age of 13. He has had a very distinguished career as a solo cellist ever since.
According to Haimovitz, “A Moveable Feast” features commissioned pieces from several famous composers he is friends with.
“I wanted to create a series of pieces to intersperse with the Bach Suites that reference Bach and maybe even quote him a little bit,” said Haimovitz.
Haimovitz began the performance with a piece by his friend and world famous composer Philip Glass and then moved into the Bach “Suite I” in G Major. After this he played a beautiful piece called “Run.” This piece was written by his friend Vijay Iyer who Haimovitz describes as one of the smartest guys he knows.
“Vijay is I think the youngest professor at Harvard right now and an amazingly smart guy,” Haimovitz said.
“This piece he wrote for me [Run] was impossible for me to play at first until I put my own spin on it and then it opened up to me.”
“Run” heavily featured the open ‘C’ string on the cello and thus featured very open and resonant tones intermingled with percussive elements as well.
After a brief intermission, Haimovitz came back on stage with a cello piccolo, an instrument that was is very special to him.
“This cello was originally my cello as a young boy in some of my first major performances, so it really means a lot to me,” Haimovitz said.
Before finishing his performance with 35 minutes of the Bach “Suite VI” in D Major, Haimovitz played a piece called “Lili’uokalani” written by his wife Luna Pearl Woolf about the last monarch of Hawaii.
This piece was a wonderful lead in to the final Bach suite, and it featured several unique percussive elements and gentle pizzicato.
All in all, Haimovitz’ concert was a success and audiences across Johnson City were treated to a bountiful feast of solo cello.