Maya Beiser x Philip Glass - New Album from Islandia Music Records - Coming July 23, 2021
“A brilliant cellist with a stunning command of her instrument” –NPR
“a force of nature” –The Boston Globe
On July 23, 2021, cellist, arranger, and producer Maya Beiser will release Maya Beiser x Philip Glass on her Islandia Music Records label. The album includes Maya’s arrangements of Philip Glass’s piano Etudes Nos. 2 and 5, Mad Rush, Music in Similar Motion, and selections from Naqoyqatsi, part of Glass’s Qatsi Trilogy with filmmaker Godfrey Reggio. On this album, Maya creates a multi-layered sound sculpture with her cello, exploring and unveiling new dimensions in some of Philip Glass’s most powerful and achingly beautiful works.
Maya says, “What do I see when I listen to Philip Glass’s music? What do I feel? How does the construction and deconstruction of these seemingly simple harmonic and melodic phrases affect my perception? In making this album, I searched for layers of sound that might reveal something new about Glass’s ingenious creative power. I was thinking about stratum, the layering that occurs in most sedimentary rocks formed at the Earth’s surface. I imagined the layers of my cello becoming porous and Glass’s music flowing vociferously through each layer, like lava, endlessly creating new patterns, expanding into the landscape.”
Setting up to reimagine two of her favorite Glass’s piano etudes, Etude No. 5 and Etude No. 2, Maya took out her Boss RC-300 and began experimenting with live looping these scores. She was surprised to discover how natural it was to create them as solo cello loops.
Glass’s 1979 work, Mad Rush, is a pianistic tour de force. But what interested Maya in creating this work as a multi-cello track was the opportunity to explore its hallucinatory quality. She wanted to create a sonic cello kaleidoscope. Mad Rush, along with the rest of the tracks on the album, are de facto cello ensemble pieces with Maya performing all the parts and experimenting with perspective, dynamics, and timber.
For her multi-cello version of the minimalist classic Music in Similar Motion, written in 1969, Maya constructed a powerful trance-inducing track. She has added percussive sounds from her cello and multiple delays to convey the way she hears and feels this music.
In 2005, Philip Glass invited Maya Beiser to perform the solo cello part in his Naqoyqatsi score on a worldwide tour of his extraordinary Qatsi Trilogy. They performed together, with the Philip Glass Ensemble, in many of the world’s greatest venues, including the Sydney Opera House, the world Expo in Nagoya, an ancient Roman amphitheater in France, and a Greek amphitheater in Barcelona. The last four tracks of the album, Naqoyqatsi, Massman, New World and Old World are from the Naqoyqatsi score. These pieces are the most “classical” ones on this album, in terms of their sound and structure. Aiming for big orchestral sound, Maya’s arrangement takes on the violin and piccolo, the celeste and timpani parts, with her 17th Century cello.
Maya Beiser x Philip Glass is Maya Beiser’s fourteenth solo album and follows the success of her two most recent recordings on Islandia Music Records – David Bowie’s Blackstar with Evan Ziporyn and the Ambient Orchestra (2020) and delugEON, an elegiac album for the natural world (2019).
About Maya Beiser: Describing innovator cellist, producer, and multifaceted artist Maya Beiser, The New York Times writes, “The adventurous Ms. Beiser has been called the ‘cello goddess,’ which is not hyperbole: She summons from her instrument an emotional power so stirring that even the most stoic audience members risk turning into sobbing sacks of flesh.” Bringing a bold and unorthodox presence to contemporary classical music and defying conventional norms with her boundary-crossing performances, Maya has been hailed as “the reigning queen of avant-garde cello” by The Washington Post, and a “cello rock star,” by Rolling Stone.
Maya is a featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, London’s Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, the Sydney Opera House, the Beijing Festival, Barcelona’s L’Auditori, Paris’ Cité de la Musique, and Stockholm’s Concert Hall. Among the wide range of artists with whom she has collaborated are Louis Andriessen, Philip Glass, Tan Dun, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Mark Anthony-Turnage, Shirin Neshat, Erin Cressida-Wilson, Bill Morrison, Robert Woodruff, Missy Mazolli, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Pontus Lidberg, Wendy Whelan, Lucinda Childs and Joe Hisaishi.
Maya’s vast discography includes thirteen solo albums. Her recent albums Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar (2020), delugEON (2019), Tranceclassical (2016), Uncovered (2014) and Provenance (2012), topped the classical music charts. She is the featured soloist on many film soundtracks, including an extensive collaboration with composer James Newton Howard.
Maya Beiser is a United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow in Music; a Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; and was a Presenting Artist at the inaugural CultureSummit, held in 2017 in Abu Dhabi. Invited to present at the prestigious TED main stage in Long Beach, CA, Maya’s TED Talk has been watched by over one million people and translated to 32 languages. She has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and All Things Considered, PBS News Hour, and the BBC World News. Maya is a graduate of Yale University.
About Islandia Music Records: Islandia Music Records is an independent record label founded and spearheaded by cellist and producer Maya Beiser, one of the foremost soloists and avant-garde artists of her generation. Beiser’s desire to be the driving force behind her artistic expression led her to concentrate on an intensely rich and innovative solo career. She has engaged composers, choreographers, dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, sound designers, and technology innovators to create works written for her or by her and interpreted through her singular artistic lens. The freedom to chart her own course made it possible to become a game changer in the contemporary creative landscape. A platform for self-expression and daring artistic adventures, Islandia Music Records allows for a broad palette of collaborative patterns: between the old and the new, the brazen and the subtle, the dark and the hopeful.
Maya Beiser x Philip Glass
Performed by Maya Beiser, Cello
Composed by Philip Glass
Arranged and Produced by Maya Beiser
Islandia Music Records
Release date: July 23, 2021
1. Etude No. 5
2. Etude No. 2
3. Mad Rush
4. Music in Similar Motion
7. New World
8. Old World
Recorded at Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House, NY
Engineered and Mixed by Dave Cook at Area 52 Studios
Mastered by Scott Hall at Masterdisk
Philip Glass’s music is published by Dunvagen Music Publishers. Used by permission.