Matt Haimovitz

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Matt Haimovitz
Education Juilliard School, Harvard University
Occupation Cellist
Years active 1984 - present
Employer McGill University Schulich School of Music

Matt Haimovitz (born December 3, 1970 in Bat Yam, Israel) is an Israeli-born cellist, now based in the United States and Canada. He mainly plays a cello made by Matteo Goffriller in 1710.

Family, musical education and early career[edit]

Matt Haimovitz was born in the Israeli town of Bat Yam as son of Meir and Marlena Haimovitz, a Jewish couple who moved to Israel from Romania.[1] When he was 5 years old, the family settled in Palo Alto, California.

Haimovitz began to study the cello at the age of seven with Irene Sharp in California. At the age of nine, he switched teachers to Gábor Reitő. When Haimovitz was twelve years old, Itzhak Perlman, who was impressed by his performances at a music camp in Santa Barbara, introduced him to Leonard Rose. In order for him to study with Rose at the Juilliard School, his family moved to New York in 1983. Rose described Haimovitz as "probably the greatest talent I have ever taught", praising his "ravishingly beautiful tone" and "unusual sense of style and musical sensitivity".[citation needed]

In February 1985, Haimovitz joined Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert which was filmed and broadcast. This success was followed in 1986 by an American tour with Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, as well as concerts with the New York Philharmonic. In the same year Haimovitz was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant for exceptional musical achievement, the youngest musician to receive this award. Over the next decade, Haimovitz appeared with many of the major orchestras of North America, Europe and Asia, and worked with the most distinguished conductors. In 1987, at the age of 17, Haimovitz signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, where several of his recordings of standard and non-standard repertoire won international awards.[2] Haimovitz is married to composer Luna Pearl Woolf. They have two daughters.

Recent career[edit]

After graduating from Harvard College in 1996, and with the termination of his contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Haimovitz became dissatisfied with the traditional career path of a modern classical musician. He began exploring non-standard classical and non-classical repertoire more intensively, and began a program of concerts in unusual venues.[3] A 2002 North American tour that attracted international attention saw Haimovitz performing J. S. Bach's cello suites in night clubs, restaurants and other highly untraditional venues in a wide variety of towns and cities across the United States. This was followed in 2003 by Haimovitz's Anthem tour, in which he brought a variety of American compositions to a similar variety of audiences, including his rendition of Jimi Hendrix's famous improvisational rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

In 2000, Haimovitz founded his own record label, Oxingale with partner and wife,[4] composer Luna Pearl Woolf, which has released CD recordings of his own recital programs, as well as music performed by others. In 2010 this label expanded to include a music publishing branch, which features works commissioned, performed, and recorded by Haimovitz.[5]

"Shuffle. Play.Listen", his 2-disc collaboration with pianist Christopher O'Riley in 2011 , was hailed for its innovation in mixing together Bernard Hermann film scores, Janácek, and Cocteau Twins. "The idea behind it is to blast away at any and all categories...",[6] wrote Richard Ginell of the L.A. Times.

From 1999 to 2004, Haimovitz was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts. Since 2004, he has taught at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal as well as the Domaine Forget academy for the arts in rural Quebec.

In June 2013, Haimovitz went on an international tour to Italy performing with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. He also recorded Philip Glass' Cello Concerto No. 2 with Dennis Russell Davies and the Cincinnati Symphony; the concerto is a reworking of the film score ''Naqoyqatsi''.[7]

In 2015 he released two recordings on the Pentatone label using period instruments: the cellos sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, with pianist Christopher O'Riley; and a second recording of Bach's six solo Cello Suites (on Haimovitz's earlier traversal, recorded in 2000, he had used a modernized cello and bow).


Release date Album Label
1989 Saint-Saens: Cello Concertos / Bruch: Kol Nidrei / Lalo: Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in D Minor Deutsche Grammophon
1990 Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, Boccherini: Cello Concertos Deutsche Grammophon
1992 Suites and Sonatas for Solo Cello - Reger: Suite in G major, Op. 131c/1; Crumb: Sonata; Britten: Suite No. 1, Op. 72; Ligeti: Sonata Deutsche Grammophon
1995 Trios with Rob Wasserman GRP Records
1995 The 20th Century Cello Deutsche Grammophon
1997 The 20th Century Cello Volume 2 Deutsche Grammophon
1999 Portes Ouvertes: The 20th Century Cello Volume 3 Deutsche Grammophon
1999 Undertree Oxingale Records
2000 Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo Oxingale Records
2001 Lemons Descending Oxingale Records
2002 The Rose Album Oxingale Records
2003 Anthem Oxingale Records
2003 Haydn: The Cello Concertos; Mozart: Cello Concerto Transart Live
2003 Hyperstring Trilogy Oxingale Records
2004 Please Welcome...Matt Haimovitz Oxingale Records
2004 Epilogue Oxingale Records
2005 Goulash! Oxingale Records
2006 Mozart the Mason Oxingale Records
2006 Apres Moi, le Deluge Oxingale Records
2007 David Sanford & the Pittsburgh Collective: Live at the Knitting Factory Oxingale Records
2007 After Reading Shakespeare Oxingale Records
2007 VinylCello Oxingale Records
2008 J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations Oxingale Records
2008 Odd Couple Oxingale Records
2009 Figment Oxingale Records
2010 Meeting of the Spirits Oxingale Records
2011 Shuffle.Play.Listen (In collaboration with Christopher O'Riley Oxingale Records
2011 Matteo: 300 Years of Italian Cello Oxingale Records
2012 Paul Moravec: Northern Lights Electric BMOP/sound
2012 Laura Elise Schwendinger: Three Works Albany Music Distribution
2013 Glass: Cello Concerto No. 2 "Naqoyqatsi" Orange Mountain Music
2013 AngelHeart Oxingale Records
2014 Akoka: Reframing Oliver Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time Oxingale Records
2015 Beethoven, Period. Oxingale Records/Pentatone
2015 Orbit Oxingale Records/Pentatone
2015 J.S. Bach The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena Oxingale Records/Pentatone


  1. ^ Judy Polan, "Q & A with Matt Haimovitz",The Jewish Ledger, April 22, 2010
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Usmani, Josh. "Free Comic Book Day Finds an Exciting Annual Home at Carol and John's | Arts Lead | Cleveland Scene". Retrieved 2015-05-05. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Sheet music from award-winning contemporary composers". Retrieved 2015-05-05. 
  6. ^ Ginell, Richard (January 19, 2012). "Shuffle. Play. Listen.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Daniel Stephen (March 11, 2013). "A Second Look at Philip Glass's Monumental 'Naqoyqatsi'". WQXR New York. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 

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