Award-winning cellist Matt Haimovitz is as likely to be found playing classical music in a coffeehouse as a concert hall.
“Music takes on different meanings in different venues,” says Haimovitz, who performs in September at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company and the Scottish Rite Center as a guest of Performance Santa Fe.
“There’s an element of surprise, both for me and audience members, when I play in non-traditional venues,” he adds. “People are often at the edge of their seats. It keeps me on my toes.”
J.S. Bach is one of Haimovitz’s favorite composers. Haimovitz is so passionate about Bach’s six Cello Suites (BWV 1007 through BWV 1012) that he is playing all six works in Santa Fe as well as six recently-composed overtures to the suites that he commissioned from six different composers: Philip Glass, Du Yun, Vijay Iyer, Roberto Sierra, David Sanford and Luna Pearl Woolf.
“I had an idea of which composer I wanted to write an overture for each suite,” he explains. “I know they were thrilled and excited about this project and at the same time humbled to be assigned the job of creating a piece of music that works well with Bach.”
Haimovitz, who was born in Israel and made his concert debut in 1984 at the age of 13 with Zubin Mehta conducting the Israel Philharmonic, made his first recording with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was 17 years old. He studied at the Juilliard School with Leonard Rose, Ronald Leonard and Yo-Yo Ma. In 1996, he graduated with highest honors from Harvard University.
During the past 20 years Haimovitz has performed on the world’s most esteemed stages with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
A multiple award-winning cellist who plays a Venetian cello made in 1710, Haimovitz has received a Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, a Concert Music Award from ASCAP for his advocacy of living composers and pioneering spirit and an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
When he’s not touring, Haimovitz mentors young cellists at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal.