By Tony Sokol
A rock star cellist is transforming classical music. The mesmerizing Maya Beiser is set to induce her TranceClassical album worldwide on July 29, 2016 through Innova Recordings. Beiser began a weeklong stream on Apple Music today, July 22.
Maya melds cello and electronically transformed vocals, sung simultaneously while she plays. TranceClassical casts a spell with the personal magnetism of her cello and high-tech studio wizardry, according to a mashup of all the reviews she’s getting. Maya’s music sets out to entrance the listener, and that “transforms and transcends boundaries, styles, and centuries,” according to a press statement.
Over her career Maya has “uncovered” Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Janis Joplin, Howlin’ Wolf, King Crimson, Muddy Waters and AC/DC, in addition to her classical repertoire.
Maya’s collaboration with David Lang on Lou Reed’s “Heroin,” is darkly addictive. She sings the “haunting confessional over her cello’s arpeggios in a startlingly moving take on the original.”
The post-modern diva of the cello was raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel where she was immersed in the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Julia Wolfe’s “Emunah” (which means belief) is an “ancient-feeling vocal and cello duo expounding on the idea of devotion.” Maya sings Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz’s “Kol Nidrei” in in Aramaic.
David T. Little’s “Hellhound,” which was written for Maya, is based on Robert Johnson’s 1937 song about being dealt a devilish deal, “Hellhound On My Trail.”
Beiser covers a wide range of composers and songwriters, Johanne Sebastian Bach, but not his cousin P.D.Q.; Imogen Heap; Medieval visionary composer Hildegard von Bingen; Wilco drummer and composer Glenn Kotche; Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz’s new Kol Nidrei to
The album opens with “Air on G,” by J.S. Bach. The production evokes the sound of an old LP, spinning on a distant turntable. Michael Gordon’s All Vows takes the Jewish Yom Kippur prayer, the Kol Nidrei (which translates to All Vows) and reimagines it entirely.
She covers Imogen Heap’s mesmerizing “Hide and Seek.” Composer and drummer Glenn Kotche of Wilco contributes Three Parts Wisdom, a rhythmic and multilayered new work for Maya.
The album closes with Maya’s plaintive but ardent arrangement of Medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen’s O Virtus Sapientiae.
Cellist Maya collaborated with Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Robert Woodruff and Bill Morrison. Her works include World To Come, Almost Human, Provenance, Elsewhere: A Cello Opera, and All Vows.
Maya also announced her upcoming concert dates, which are:
August 13: Breckenridge, CO – Breckenridge Music Festival
August 17: San Francisco, CA – SFJazz
September 13: New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
October 27: Iowa City, IA – Hancher Auditorium
November 19: Stockholm, Sweden – Konserthus
February 10: London, England – Kings Place