Cellist Matt Haimovitz marks KC chamber music debut

For more information, contact:
Chris Kline, Co-President of the Board
Kansas City String Quartet Program

(816) ###-####

Cellist Matt Haimovitz marks his Kansas City chamber music debut

Innovative, award-winning artist headlines “It’s A String Thing”:

The March 14, 2010 benefit concert for the Kansas City String Quartet Program

 (February 15, 2010) KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in the Kansas City area, internationally renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz will join his friends in a riveting chamber music performance to benefit the community’s best classical music education program.

The award-winning Haimovitz – whose repertoire ranges from Haydn to Hendrix – will perform in “It’s A String Thing,” a benefit concert for the Kansas City String Quartet Program (KCSQP).

The concert will be held Sunday, March 14 at 3 p.m. at the Pembroke Hill’s Centennial Hall performing arts center, 5121 State Line Rd, Kansas City, MO.

Haimovitz will be accompanied by two members of the KCSQP faculty, his long-time duet partner, violinist Andy Simionescu, and violinist Elizabeth Suh Lane, the program’s artistic director and head of faculty for the last decade.

They will be joined by their friend, Thula Ngwenyama, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning violist who will be making her Kansas City debut.

Tickets are available through the UMKC Central Ticket Office, (816) 235-2770. Reserved seating prices are $50. Select seating for high and middle school students is $25.

The concert celebrates the Kansas City String Quartet Program, which, for 17 years, has nurtured young musicians toward artistic excellence through the cooperative study and performance of chamber music. Each summer, KCSQP brings faculty from orchestras and universities throughout the nation to the Pembroke Hill campus to teach local teenage violinists, violists, and cellists.

Matt Haimovitz – a virtuoso who continues to explore.

At an age when many local string musicians were in their first few seasons of KCSQP participation, Haimovitz (HI-ma-vits)was already an international sensation. At 13, he made his debut as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. At 17, he made his first recording with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Later, he 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.

Since then, he has been honored with classical music’s best known awards, both in this country (the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award in 2004, the ASCAP Concert Music Award in 2006) as well as abroad (the Grand Prix du Disque and the Diapason d’Or, both in 1991, and the Premio Internazionale “Accademia Musicale Chigiana” in 1999.) The Chigiana was the first time the prestigious Italian institute had given that prize to a cellist.

He has recorded more than 10 albums of concertos and chamber music with Deutche Grammophon and his own Oxingale Records, the independent label he founded with composer/producer Luna Pearl Woolf.

But he may be best known to American audiences for his 2000 Bach “Listening Room” tour, when he skipped the symphony hall to bring his favorite suites to the nation’s country bars and rock clubs. In 2002, he became the first classical artist to play at New York’s punk venue, CBGB’s, a performance covered by ABC’s “Nightline UpClose.”

Among his best-known interpretations of contemporary music are his wailing solo cello version of the Jimi Hendrix electric guitar rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and his take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” arranged as a quartet for four cellos.

Such experimentation has broadened his reputation.  “A child prodigy who was famous before he was out of his teens, he has continued to explore new and unusual music when he might have settled into the lush lifestyle of a traveling virtuoso playing the same pieces over and over,” The Washington Post observed.

Accomplished friends and faculty:

Simionescu, Ngwenyama, and Suh Lane

For seven years, Simionescu (SIM-yen-ESS-coo)has played with Haimovitz, occasionally joining him in his tour of unconventional venues. The two recorded Bartok’s “Violin Duos” on the 2005 album “Goulash”. Before then, Simionescu was recognized among classical artists for his 10 years with the award-winning Bowdoin Trio, but he is best known locally for his duets with his wife, violinist Pamela Frank, and his seven years as a member of the KCSQP faculty.

Like Simionescu, violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama No-koo-TOO-la En-gwen-YA-ma) is a Curtis Institute of Music graduate. She is known as “Thula” (Too-la). The American Viola Society describes her as “one of the foremost instrumentalists of her generation.” She frequently collaborates with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and has also worked with the Borromeo, Chilingirian, Miami, Orion and St. Lawrence Quartets. She is also a faculty member of Indiana University.

Elizabeth Suh Lane, besides leading the KCSQP, is also the founder and executive artistic director of the Bach Aria Soloists. She has performed at the international festivals of Tanglewood, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Britten Pears (England), and was recently invited to the Carmel Bach Festival.  While residing in London, Suh Lane was a member of the London Symphony Orchestra, and performed with leading ensembles, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

Hear for yourself!

Go to the following links to hear examples of some of their work:

1) WGBH Classical Command Performance: Haimovitz and Simionescu perform music by Handel, Bartok, and Paul Moravec, recorded in January 2008. (http://mediaplayer.wgbh.org/?xml=clas/cmd080131haitz.xml&resize=1)

2) “Kashmir”, performed by Uccello, Haimovitz’s all-cello band of advanced McGill University music students, (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93587797)

3) Anthem, Haimovitz’s version of the Hendrix rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1572001&ps=rs)

Tentative details of the March 14 program

The musicians are tentatively scheduled to perform Beethoven’s String Trio in D Major and Quartet Op. 95, and Haydn’s Quartet Op. 76, No. 5 in D.

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