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. Through his visionary approach – bringing a fresh ear to familiar repertoire, championing new music and initiating groundbreaking collaborations, innovative recording projects for Oxingale Records, a tireless touring schedule as well as mentoring an award-winning studio of young cellists at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal – 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. Haimovitz has since gone on to perform on the world’s most esteemed stages, with such orchestras and conductors as the Berlin Philharmonic with Levine, the New York Philharmonic with 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 of the concert hall and into clubs across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Haimovitz’s 50-state Anthem tour in 2003 celebrated living American composers, and featured his 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. Among other awards and acclaim, two recent Oxingale albums have been nominated for Juno Awards: After Reading Shakespeare and Mozart the Mason
Matt Haimovitz’s 2009/10 season features Figment, a new album and listening room tour of (mostly) solo cello music, exploring the musical riches and diversity of his two home countries, the US and Canada, and AKOKA, a live recording reframing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with works by klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer and hip-hop artist Socalled. Both albums will be released by Oxingale Records in fall ’09. A live recording of Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Gregory Nowak and the Orchestre de Bretagne is scheduled for release in spring 2010 as is a recording of Ligeti’s Cello Concerto with Denys Bouliane and the Contemporary Music Ensemble of McGill University. Ongoing collaborations include a series of concerto commissions with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony, string quartets with Mark O’Connor, Ida Kavafian, and Paul Neubauer, and chamber music with Leon Fleisher, Menahem Pressler, Michael Tree, as well as McGill colleagues violinist Jonathan Crow and violist Douglas McNabney.
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.