The Los Angeles Times - review
" You know from the start that Beiser, who is a magnificent cellist, is going to fill not just your ears but also take over your senses."
The Wall Street Journal - album review
"Ms. Beiser’s cello has a uniquely commanding tone. Like John Coltrane’s saxophone or Duane Allman’s guitar it is able to convey the sound of an urgently impassioned voice in many guises."
"Maya Beiser Reimagines Bowie's 'Blackstar' As Gorgeous Cello Piece: Premiere"
The New York Times - Editor's Pick
“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.”
The Times of Israel
"Cello goddess Maya Beiser wants classical music to rock like Janis Joplin"
“‘I don’t think art is about perfection,’ she said. ‘I don’t think perfection is interesting at all. I can go on Ableton Live [the music software platform] and make a really good cello that can play a lot faster than me and a lot more accurate than me. But who cares? It’s not interesting. What we love about art is the human expression, which always has imperfections in it.’”
Review: David Bowie's Blackstar with Barcelona Symphony
"Rich and adventurous ... easily and authentically connected high culture with popular culture.... It was probably one of the best box office performances at L'Auditori Barcelona all season."
"... the orchestration of Blackstar has the form of a cello concerto, as the instrument simulates Bowie's voice, low and elusive, and Maya Beiser played its part with inventiveness - using delay effects, or hitting the cello as a cajon - with amplification ... she won the applause of the audience with her striking stage presence, especially commanding in the two encores at the end: a Pink Floyd version (Wish You Were Here - I wish Bowie could have heard this homage) and a fun adaptation of Let's Dance. There was no dance, but the faces of happiness could not be concealed by anyone."
"... there were blue lights projected on the walls and almost total darkness on the stage; the conductor, Ziporyn, seemed to want to hop on the podium and appeared in a sort of fitted trench coat, as if chic men's fashion would go better with a baton than a watch or shoes, and the solo cellist, Maya Beiser, appeared sheathed in leather, with platform shoes that are often seen in Gothic circles, but not in auditoriums. Relaxed aesthetics for music that proved to be dense and vibrant, for an audience that may not frequent concert halls, but which may be encouraged after finding that such an experience does not bite."
San Francisco Classical Voice
Review: Maya Beiser Takes a Walk on the Wild Side
"Beiser improvised an exciting cacophony of noises via extended techniques. There is no such moment in the album but it was a thrilling one: miked, controlled sound chaos transporting the listener from one song to the next. And again at the end of “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” the full-throated accompaniment of the orchestra behind the guitar-distorting sonorities of Beiser was revelatory...."
Radio New Zealand
Rock Star Cellist Maya Beiser
"Back in Black by AC/DC. It’s not something you’d typically hear on RNZ Concert, but it’s part of the repertoire of classically trained cellist Maya Beiser."
- The Boston Globe
Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ performed in totality by an orchestra at MIT
"Beiser's cello replaced the vocals of 'Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)' with a shivering panic ... 'Girl Loves Me' tick-tick-ticked along implacably while she captured the curvy fillips of Bowie's singing ... 'Lazarus' reached further down into the grave and further up toward the stars all at once."
- The Boston Musical Intelligencer, Mar 2017
"Bowie would have been dazzled."
"Maya's playing flowed freely along invisible lines, traced by an unencumbered, swaying body, which like her spontaneous smiles, exuded a confident pleasure in Bowie's music ... Bowie would have been dazzled."
Maya Beiser: ‘I think I was born a nonconformist’
"The boundary-crossing cellist on her kibbutz childhood, working with Steve Reich – and
making high drama out of performance"
The Washington Post
A Cellist’s Solo Trance
“Amid all the electronics, ‘TranceClassical’ takes on something of an Old World devotional tone. Bach’s sublime ‘Air,’ with a scratchy LP effect placed loudly underneath, opens the album, while Beiser’s ethereal arrangement of ‘O Virtus Sapientiae,’ by the medieval abbess Hildegard von Bingen, seals it serenely.”
“‘I hope to arrive at new territories to discover sounds I have never heard before,’ Beiser told her TED audience. With ‘TranceClassical,’ she has arrived at her destination.”
“Beiser manages the full range of music on the album with skill, precision, and charisma.”
“Interlacing cello motives transport the listener straight into a meditative trance, evoking a somber and nostalgic glance backward in music history.”
“Composer Julia Wolfe’s “Emunah” is a different kind of haunting… Wordless vocals whisper above cello tremolo, relentlessly pulling the listener back and forth in time.”
“Beiser manages the full range of music on the album with skill, precision, and charisma. Because whether she’s playing Julia Wolfe or Imogen Heap, Michael Gordon, or even Lou Reed—there’s a little bit of Bach in all of it.”
Wall Street Journal
“Maya Beiser: A cello bows to all genres. Synthesizing diverse influences ranging from Bach to the Velvet Underground.”
“A philosophical retrospective and a career-spanning playlist…. she unites her interests with characteristic flair.”
“Many hip-hop and dance recordings employ sonic elements from the vinyl era to underpin their authenticity, and Ms. Beiser’s use of the same techniques serves to make the 18th-century composition seem very of the moment.”
“Her cover of Lou Reed’s “Heroin,” one of the signature tunes of the Velvet Underground, is similarly fascinating…. most of the Velvets’ catalog is rarely covered, but Ms. Beiser makes the piece her own, escaping its long shadow.”
“Cellist Maya Beiser Spans Imogen Heap to Michael Gordon in TranceClassical”
“adjust your walk, slow your breathing, move to a different beat. Your heart will thank you.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Beiser’s cello is augmented with all manner of high-tech studio wizardry and guest stars that yield orchestral-size textures. Bigger surprises include the Lou Reed song Heroin with dreamy Bachlike arpeggios in an arrangement by David Lang. David T. Little’s Hellhound is a cauldron of metal-prone, electric-driven textures. Best is last: O Virtus Sapientiae by the 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen is presented as a stripped-down sparsely accompanied cello solo.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
“rockstar glam and personal magnetism … endlessly inventive and a joy to listen to”
“a surreal soundscape contained in an industrial chamber …Maya Beiser continues her category-defying path with TranceClassical”
“Maya Beiser‘s aptly titled new album indeed casts a spell.”
NPR First Watch
“The pulsating bass line ticks away, reminding us of the timelessness of [Bach’s] music”
“simply one of the most interesting, most stunning albums of contemporary music I have heard in a while”
I Care If You Listen
Big Ears Festival review
"Maya Beiser displayed a rare and sublime understanding that sameness does not always equal Sameness. Her cadenzas yearned and burned, sliding across the strata of the cello, leading the orchestra through some of the composer’s thorniest harmonic material.... Beiser’s cello, growling on a single note punctuated with col legno strikes, repeating an ascending octave at the very end, almost imperceptibly shifted in color moment to moment."
All About Jazz
“Beiser gave a riveting performance [of Philip Glass' Cello Concerto No. 2, but the most striking thing was the wide dynamic range”
“a brooding account of Glass’s cello writing”
Big Ears Festival Headliner mixes classical with rock-and-roll
"From Led Zeppelin to other rock legends cello player Maya Beiser talks about the musical style she is bringing to the Big Ears Festival."
A Big Ears Interview With Cellist Maya Beiser
"Whitney Dodds talks with Maya Beiser about the Big Ears Festival, defying musical genres and being a cello goddess."
A conversation with Maya Beiser
"She brings a bold and unorthodox presence to contemporary classical music by experimenting with various musical styles, and always defying expectations."
Detroit Free Press
“The players of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra faded away and soloist Maya Beiser was left alone, singing a prayerful song in a long, emotionally moving cadenza that left a feeling of ritual in the air. The melodies rose and fell along the spine of Middle Eastern scales, with surprising leaps and vocalized cries that slipped into the cracks between the notes — that bittersweet territory where a Jewish cantor or an Arabic singer (or for that matter a jazz musician playing the blues) finds expression…. To paraphrase Ralph Ellison speaking in a different context, anyone who couldn’t hear soul in this music is in trouble.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Room No. 35, the cello work, is equally assertive but more adventurous, perhaps not surprisingly, since the soloist, Maya Beiser, is listed as a co-creator. It draws on the full lexicon of cello technique—sliding figures, chordal passages, brusqueness, delicacy and dialogues between pizzicato and bowed lines… But for all its kaleidoscopic variety, the piece never feels like a mere tour of the instrument’s effects, and Ms. Beiser’s thoroughly assured performance had an almost balletic gracefulness.”
The Boston Globe
“Maya Beiser was a force of nature”
“Maya Beiser was a force of nature...Wielding her instrument like a lightning rod, she careened through virtuosic passages, grafting angular, dark edges onto her phrases. Behind her, Technicolor jellyfish waved their tentacles, and surreal sea plants with human lips smiled eerily… Beiser did not seem so much to react to the images as summon them at her whim, and the sections with nothing projected on the walls proved that this concerto could absolutely stand alone. She seamlessly slipped between solo chromatic strife and serene bliss amidst her own recorded cello choir textures.
“She exchanged her acoustic cello for an electric skeleton of an instrument. That in hand, she moved delicately and uncannily created alien sounds with abyssal power… she brought a profound understanding to the performance. The evening’s first half was good, but the second was otherworldly, the kind of experience that will likely prove almost impossible to replicate with any other performer.”
WBUR Hear and Now
Cellist Maya Beiser ‘Uncovers’ Classic Rock
"Maybe you like to come home and rock out to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or Janice Joplin. But classical cellist Maya Beiser rocks out in a slightly different way."
“Rock star cellist Maya Beiser brings her own brand of classical music to Wortham”
“When you’re watching a concert by cellist Maya Beiser, you could possibly mistake it for a rock concert, an intergalactic sci-fi battle or a WWE Smackdown event. Laser lights strike the stage as digital graphics project behind the Israeli-born cellist playing under a bathing stage light. Beiser, who heads to Wortham Center this Friday, is known for her avant-garde take on playing the classical instrument, defying tradition and taking concertgoers on a visceral journey through music.”
The Houston Chronicle
“Cellist Maya Beiser takes cutting-edge approach to music”
“‘Music goes directly to the soul,’ declares Maya Beiser. ‘It’s a purely spiritual entity because it directly enters us, without obstacles. And it connects us all together.’”
- Chicago Sun-Times
“Cellist Maya Beiser rocks the music world with unorthodox approach to her craft…”
“Two of the best-known such cross-genre adventurers are cellist Maya Beiser and drummer Glenn Kotche. She is rooted in the classical idiom, and he is best known for his work with the famed Chicago-based rock band, Wilco, yet the two easily jump into each other’s worlds, blurring stylistic distinctions as they go.”
“Maya Beiser, the reigning queen of the avant-garde cello, has been pushing out the boundaries of her instrument for years, but in a rapturous, high-intensity performance on Saturday night at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, it was clear she’s now aiming at almost transcendental heights."
The Financial Times
“Stunning technical resources and intense musical instincts.”
“Beiser made a haunting episode of Mohammed Fairouz’s setting of Kol Nidrei, chanting the original Aramaic prayer…while accompanying herself on her electrified instrument in an act of communion both defiant and serene.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Engrossing… by turns contemplative and ecstatic. Her playing has a muscular weight and integrity… and she lavishes a combination of technical agility and expressive eloquence…”
“The energy of an arena show…with tenderness and lyricism that can be almost heartbreaking.”
“Making Classical Music Sexy and Smart…”
“The dazzling cellist wants to create music that moves you – and makes you move. Clemency Burton-Hill takes a glimpse inside her concert hall revolution.”
The Jewish Chronicle
“Maya Beiser: ‘Goddess’ ﬁnds herself drawn to the afterlife”
“…she has forged a distinctive career path, making it her mission to transform the nature, perception and audience of cutting-edge contemporary music”
“A brilliant cellist with a stunning command of her instrument..”
“Beiser stays tightly tied to technology. She takes the sound of the cello and runs it through loop pedals, effects and other electronics to make her instrument shimmer, drone and groove.”
New York Magazine
“The cello is a natural-born diva: It embraces the entire range, and much of the expressive variety, of the human voice. It can sing, growl, coo, moan, shout, and stutter, and when Beiser plays, the relationship between musician and instrument has a dramatic intensity that borders on the erotic.”
“She performs with a fierce, rocky tone, like the sound of a desert sunset. At times, she and the computer together build up an ecstatic chorus. At others, a processor roughens her cello into a howling guitar. Toward the end, she abandons the instrument altogether, escapes from her plastic prison by slicing open the screen, and grabs the sleek electric cello that’s waiting on the other side. She has outgrown the limitations of wood and varnish; electricity is freedom.”
-Time Out New York
“A category of her own…”
“The new-music cello star sends an empowering message with ELSEWHERE at BAM… The affable cellist possesses some obvious rocker qualities—a keen fashion sense; dark, flowing curls; and a runway model’s build. But her mastery of the cello and knack for creating innovative multimedia performances put her in a category of her own….A career marked by experimentation and adventure…stellar musicianship and undeniable glamour.”
American Theatre Magazine
“Time and genre evaporate in ELSEWHERE…With this new work, Beiser emerges as a full-fledged theatre artist deeply invested in human harmony.”
New York Post
“Eerie beauty…mounting ferocity… this hourlong mélange of contemporary classical music, spoken text and eye-teasing visuals provides a smashing vehicle for Beiser’s bold virtuosity”.
New York Magazine
“…The rhapsodic cellist wields her instrument with the kind of magnetic panache usually reserved for rock stars…”
“Impeccable timing…Rock-star pizazz…”
“You could say these two musicians are joined at the cello, when you hear them play their Catch the Melody game, throwing it back and forth to each other with impeccable timing. Beiser can mashup those classical melodies and themes and the jazz riffs with the same rock-star pizazz as Fox… it is understandable why she is in demand to perform all over the world.”
The Huffington Post
“the ultimate unifying experience…”
“There is no doubt that cellist Maya Beiser is a dynamic performer… Her command is not limited to conventional concert stages. (Her) career as a whole, seems predicated on presenting music as the ultimate unifying experience.”
The New York Times
“rich-hued tone… insistently rhythmic… meltingly lyrical”
“The cellist Maya Beiser treats her concert programs as expansive, evening-length compositions… deep and rich, with a lush vibrato… Ms. Beiser’s rich-hued tone singing out from within a bed of sound loops…ranged from the insistently rhythmic to the meltingly lyrical.”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Cellist Maya Beiser played a concert of all-new music for solo cello, multitrack tape and video with the kind of polish that allows clarity of intent and freedom in performance… with that sensual element consistently present, she projects a bright, forthright sound with a sturdy sense of line… Anytime a performer appears amid so much technology, the human-heat element can be lost . But that’s not possible with someone of Beiser’s commitment… her live presence gives a clear-cut foreground element to each piece… So it can be done – and with rock-star magnetism… It was an important night!”
The New York Times
“If New York concertgoers are eager to know how Zankel Hall intends to distinguish itself from Carnegie Hall’s two other auditoriums, the solo cello recital by Maya Beiser provided a mesmerizing answer. Ms. Beiser, a champion of contemporary music with an ardent following, is drawn to composers whose work, often written for her, use video imagery, lighting effects and recorded elements. Zankel Hall proved an ideal environment for Ms. Beiser’s multimedia program….. she was vigorously cheered by the packed house.”
“She is hip, adventuresome and, yes, talented….. Her playing was astonishing –amazingly rich, evocative and remarkably beautiful.”
The Times of Israel
“A fixture on the world’s stages…the most fiercely individual cellist on the new-music scene.”
“Maya Beiser is a gifted, TED Talk-ing young cellist, unafraid to push her instrument in many genre-blurring directions.”
- Chicago Sun-Times
“Combines the best of two worlds, classically trained and with the technical resources to draw whatever kind of music she wishes.”
“A striking, powerful presence... a virtuoso”
- Los Angeles Times
“Blessed with rock-star looks, a mesmerizing talent and an ardent army of followers.”
- Sydney Morning Herald
“With virtuoso chops and rock star charisma... the post-modern diva of the cello.”
- The Boston Globe
“Taking destiny in her own hands…”
- WQXR, October 2012
“…Beiser’s biggest calling cards these days are theatrical works that involve videos, electronics, lighting effects, spoken poetry and all manner of sounds from her instrument. Many tackle dense literary themes or social-political issues… “The whole idea is of a woman who is taking destiny in her own hands,” Beiser told host Jeff Spurgeon.”
“Top composers line up to write for her…”
- Washington Post, Oct 2006
“The young cello diva whose musical appetite is voracious, and top composers line up to write for her.”