Maya Dunietz (Hebrew: מאיה דוניץ; April 16, 1981 in Tel Aviv) is an Israeli pianist, singer, composer, choir conductor and sound artist, recording and performing worldwide in a wide range of musical genres.
Maya Dunietz received an early musical education, starting with piano lessons at the age of 6. She took piano lessons with Naomi Lev and Jenina Lowenberg, studied with composer Keren Rosenbaum and at the Shtriker Israeli Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv, Flute with Flutist Moshe Epstein, and Musical Theory with composer Lev Kogan. In 1992 she started taking voice training and vocal lessons with Anat Morag, joined the Bat Kol youth choir, and performed with it in Israel and abroad. In 1993 Dunietz acted and sang in the theatrical Opera of the Jews directed by Yoram Porat, at the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre. Between 1994 and 1998, he attended The Thelma Yellin school of Fine Arts and graduated with honors. In 1995 Dunietz acted in the feature film There was no War in 1972 by director David Kraner. In 1996, she hosted a weekly youth television program on Channel 1 (Israel). On the same year she represented Israel at the annual conference of Jeunesses Musicales International in Côte d'Ivoire. In 1997 Dunietz acted in the feature film Dana isn't Dancing by Shmuel Imberman, and acted in several student productions. Between 1996–1998 presented a weekly radio show on local radio. In 1997 she performed as premier pianist of the Thelma Yellin big band in Boston and New York. She also produced and composed the soundtrack of The Blue Bird by Maurice Maeterlinck. In 1998 Dunietz joined Reflex Ensemble for music and new interdiscipline art, and performed with it as solo artist on the New Voices festival at Kfar Blum. In 1999, she composed a piece for the Ilan Mochiah Big Band at the Women Festival in Holon Theater, Performed at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, and with the Salsa band Coco Loco in Israel and in Turkey. In 1999 Dunietz enrolled in The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. While there, she performed with John Zorn, Daniel Zamir and Aaron Dugan, Performed in New Jersey with George Antheil's Ballet Mécanique, Played for the New York Shakespeare Theater Company and the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival in New York, and for Yehonatan Geffen in his US tour.
In 2002 Dunietz joined the international all-women vocal group Women's Voice, which consisted of seven woman musicians of various nationalities, and performed with it for two years in Africa, Europe and the US. In 2002 she started collaborating with Israeli singer Michal Oppenhaim, and performed with her in a vocal duo with original material composed by both. In the same year Dunietz also joined Israeli band Habiluim on piano, keyboards and vocalist, recorded two albums (in 2002 and 2006), and performed with them in Israel and in Europe. In 2002 and 2003 she performed with Japanese musician Yuka Yamamoto, Bass player Adam Sheflan, and Saxophone player Eyal Talmudi.
In 2003 Dunietz studied Classical piano with Professor Alexander Volkov, and performed in the Israel Festival with a Cobra concert by John Zorn. In the same year she joined Israeli band Eatliz as lead vocalist, and wrote the lyrics for most of its first album (released only after she left the band in 2005). In 2003 Dunietz founded Givol Choir, an Avant-garde vocal supergroup consisting of musicians already notable in a variety of styles and genres. Between 2003–2008 the choir created and performed five different programs. Dunietz wrote the music and was musical director of the play Garinim, directed by Ariel Efraim Ashbel, awarded best play and best musical soundtrack in the 2003 Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre. The music in this symbolic visual theater project was performed by a Givol Choir ensemble. Since then, Dunietz acts as resident composer for Ashbel's theatrical ensemble, and wrote the music for its next projects. In 2004 she played in the first album by Rona Keinan, Breathing Down to Zero. Since 2004 (and until 2008) she performed regularly with Clarinet player Harold Rubin. These improv shows, generally on a weekly basis, had a small but consistent following, and took place mostly in The West Bank club in Tel Aviv. In 2005 Dunietz joined The Midnight Peacocks – a hard-core rock trio from Tel Aviv, playing music they like to define as "circus-core" – a crossover between hard-core, oriental and cabaret. With the Peacocks she recorded their debut album, It's a brutal machine. Dunietz still occasionally performs with this band as guest vocalist. In 2005 she also took part in recording an album with bass player Jean Claude Jones With Friends. On the same year she composed Surprise1 – a piece for piano and voice, and performed it at the Rowdyism festival in Tel Aviv. She also performed with Roy Yarkoni's compositions in the New Waves concert series of the Musica Nova group, titled The Milk Underground, featuring the poetry of Ronny Someck. In November 2005 Dunietz performed at the Piano festival at Susan Dallal center in Tel Aviv, in a Duet performance with David Broza. In the very same festival, she also gave a solo concert titled "Boogy Woogy, Honky Tonk and Blues – The Cat House Piano" – a tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, Art Tatum, Scott Joplin, Lucille Bogan and others. Dunietz surprised the audience when she came on stage with her face painted black, in protest of the blackface phenomenon in early 20th-century American Jazz.
In 2006 Dunietz composed OP – a composition for the Tel Aviv Art Ensemble, performed at the Felicja Blumental Festival, and Surprise2 – a piece for piano and voice performed in Israel and in concerts of Reflex Ensemble at Symphony Space, New York. In the same year she also recorded a session with Yoni Silver, Eitan Radushinsky, Constantin Gross, Keren Rosenbaum and Aaron Dugan titled The Romanians. The session was recorded and published by the label Zukovprocessor.
In 2006, Dunietz enrolled in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in The Netherlands and studied composition with Gilius van Bergeijk. under this hospice she wrote in 2007 the pieces "Tzutzik" for The New Ensemble, Amsterdam, "Put it in My Mouth", an electronic piece, performed by her at The Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, and "Minutes", a piece for Saxophone and piano performed at Korzo Theater Den Haag. In the same year she gave a solo concert at Stone New York with an original piano composition, and a duet with clarinet player Harold Rubin at Free Music Production festival in Berlin. She also recorded with the Midnigfht Peacocks their second album Three, and performed with musicians Steve Noble, Yedo Gibson and Marcio Mattos as Pau Na Maquina Quartet.
In August 2007 Dunietz and her partner, conductor Ilan Volkov, had their first daughter Nadia Borboleta. In the days prior to the birth, Dunietz participated in the farewell concerts of Habiluim, with The Midnight Peacocks, and with vocalist Mike Patton in Cobra concert in Tel Aviv. Two months later, due to public demand, she repeated "Boogy Woogy, Honky Tonk and Blues – The Cat House Piano", with her two months old baby in the audience. In December 2007 she presented two sound installations at the Sound Disturbance show of the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon. In 2008 her improvisation duo with Harold Rubin was joined by musician and saxophone player Yoni Silver, and the three recorded the album Mono Musical Suite for Three Manic Musicians. In the same year Dunietz performed with Saxophone player Evan Parker, and pianist August Fernandez, with musician Alvin Coran, with pianist and poet Ophir Klemperer on drums and percussions, as guest pianist with the Magreb Orchestra, with Jewlia Eisenberg and Shizad Ismaily's Toychestra, and with the Givol Choir's fifth program, which took place in a historical Tel Aviv building together with composer and percussionist David Moss in three consecutive days of performance. Before the year was out, Dunietz recorded the second album of Boom Pam, Puerto Rican Nights.
In 2009 Dunietz took part in recording the debut album of Israeli singer/songwriter Ori Mark; performed with the Midnight Peacocks at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas; played with composer and saxophone player John Butcher and drummer Eddie Prévost in a show in London; Played with bass player and percussionist Shahzad Ismaily at The Chelsea Art Museum in New York, recorded Itamar Rothschild's first album; and played with Aaron Dugan and rapper Matisyahu in Levontin 7 Tel Aviv. She also performed with Desert Blues and a variety of experimantal avant garde solo performances. In the same year, she performed with the Mambo Mambas in a number of shows and festivals, and in October 2009 she rejoined forces with singer Michal Oppenhaim for a new vocal Duet show, and with Director Ariel Efraim Ashbel in a sound performance titled Chikos, commissioned by the 21st Century Ensemble for its contemporary music festival in "Hateiva", Jaffa. Towards the end of the year, she joined (first temporarily, and later regularly) the klezmer band Oy Division as lead singer, in the Yiddish language.
2010 – Present
In 2010 Dunietz recorded several covers as lead singer, including "Can We Kiss" by Calvin Johnson and I'll Be Your Mirror by The Velvet Underground. She also performed with and wrote the string arrangements for "1000", an album released in 2011 by French Hyphy post-punk trio Cheveu. Presented and performed in two consecutive exhibitions in Art Site Jerusalem "Yaffo 23", a multidisciplinary art venue run by Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design,. Performed on piano at "You Make Remake" Festival in Tel Aviv curated by Renana Raz. Performed with Uzi (Ramirez) Feinerman (guitar) and Ram Gabai (drums) in the "PsanTrio" Festival in Tel-Aviv. Premiered "Eroica - a song for a dear man" - a piece commissioned by the Israeli digital art lab for the Weizman ralley 2010 in the main event of 2010 Design Year in Holon, a piece for 30 brass players and electronics with 16 speakers spread out in the weizman square. This piece was created in collaboration with visual artist Alona Rodeh. Dunietz also collaborated with Rodeh in Friday, a multidisciplinary piece which premiered at the Center for Contemporary Art as part of the Oz in the city performance Festival in Tel Aviv. The same piece was later also exhibited in the Ashdod museum of art group show "On the Road to Nowhere". In the summer of 2010 Dunietz performed with John Butcher, Eddie Prévost and Guillaume Villtard at Cafe Oto in London, and with Neil Davidson and Johnny Chang in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland. Performed with DJ Ofer (SchoolMaster) Tal at the 20th anniversary of The Left Bank. In October 2010 Dunietz performed in Toulouse, France with "Vortex", a French Improv Jazz Duo consisting of Heddy Boubaker and Sebastian Ciroutteau. In January 2011 Dunietz performed in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with Stephen O'Malley (US) and Iancu Dumitrescu (Romania). In the same month She premiered "Olive Tree" - a piece for ensemble and electronics commissioned by Ansamblu Hyperion La Ateneul Roman in Bucharest, Romania, and also performed at the International Conference and Workshop, titled "Whispering, Prompting, Shadowing: Performed Voices" conducted by The Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Later that year Dunietz performed Solo Piano alongside two other women pianists: Misa Shimomora (Japan), and Katia Tubul (Israel) and exhibited in the Ashdod Museum of art group show "On the Road to Nowhere". In April and May 2011 Dunietz curated a series of events at London Avant-Garde venue "Cafe Oto", labeled "Hit & Run". Dunietz also took active part in each of those events, featuring musicians such as Oren Ambarchi, Daniel Higgs, Steve Beresford and Fritz Welch. Later that year she released an album, playing piano with John Edwards (Bass) and Steve Noble (Drums), recorded at Eastcote Studios in London in 2008.
In the spring of 2011 Dunietz participated in "Casino", a collaborative international project with twelve contemporary performance artists, curated and conducted by Dr. Stefanie Wenner at HAU3, Berlin. A year later, in April 2012, she returned to Berlin with Kurtzstrecke, a sound installation project for "Ausland-Berlin". In the Venice Biennale 2011 she performed "The Dark Side of the Funny Face" - created for Mother concerts at the Polish pavilion. This piece was also performed in 3 venues in Tel Aviv - "levontin7", "Felicia Blumental" and the "Vitrina". In the very same Biennale, Dunietz composed an original children's choir piece for Zamach, a film created by artist Yael Bartana which premiered in The 2011 Venice Biennale. In the wake of the same project, Dunietz was invited as a delegate at the 1st Congress of The Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), a project by Bartana for the 7th Berlin Biennale. In early 2012 Dunietz curated "The Silent Film Club" series at Hateiva in Jaffa, a series of improvised music for old classic silent movies. later that year Dunietz gave birth to her second daughter, Gal Or. In September 2012 she presented a piece titled Installation 12, commissioned by The Art Department of The Tel Aviv Municipality,  and in early 2013 she curated the 2nd season of The Silent Film Club, this time with participating musicians such as Ram Orion, Victoria Hanna, Assaf and Eyal Talmudi, Assif Zahar, and the band Habiluim. The band, consisting of Dunietz, Noam Inbar and Yammi Wisler, resumed its activities at the end of 2012, and on May 2013 released its third album, Hora Escalation. Dunietz's composition "Six Waves", commissioned by "Meitar Ensemble", world premiered on July 4th, 2013.
Dunietz enjoys public and critical acclaim as an original musician. Despite a strong background in Jazz and classical music, as well as funk, punk and rock, she prefers to push the envelope and engage in musical experiments far from the mainstream, even at the cost of appealing to limited audiences. "Despite her charisma and extrovert personality, it seems that... Dunietz will not sell many copies of her work. her alternative avant garde style will not buy her wide popularity. Her commitment for ongoing personal musical experimentation and the lack of boundaries in her work may not buy her commercial success, but definitely make her a great artistic promise" (Assaf Levanon, Haaretz). The attempt to position Dunietz in a concrete musical genre is bound to fail. She is active in Jazz, rock, funk, polka – both classical and avant garde, both local and international. A prominent musical critic, Ben Shalev, wrote about her: "Free or standard jazz, pop, salsa, blues, boogie woogie, modern classical music or heavy metal – in all these worlds young pianist and singer Maya Dunietz feels at home". About her performance at the Piano Festival, Nadav Holander (Maariv) wrote: Maya indeed made a statement, in an excellent tribute recital to the great American pianists of the early 20th century. Her comprehensive research work, her absolute command of the piano, and even her blackened face, turned this performance into the perfect closing act." Her trio Improv album Cousin It was greatly received with quotes like "Dunietz, ...one of Israel’s leading musicians in new music and a unique pianist who makes use of the whole piano improvisation history being able to quote the style of almost every great jazz pianist from Cecil Taylor to Marilyn Crispell or even Keith Jarrett. Certainly her approach is clearly post-modern avant-garde, but her playing can also be humorous, tender and abrasive – a unique player in other words." And "Dunietz is one of the leading voices on the Israeli alternative scene, capable of freely improvising on piano and many other instruments, playing in art-rock outfits, and singing and leading choirs. She is also gifted with a sharp sense of dadaist humor; it is clear that this humor and her affinity to invent and test boundaries are characteristic of her playing in this format."
- Tel Aviv Municipality and Rabinovich Foundation – Givol Choir
- Best Soundtrack – Garinim – Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre 2003
- 2002 Habiluim, Habiluim, NMC
- 2004 Rona Keinan, Breathing Down to Zero, NMC
- 2004 Jean Claude Jones, With Friends, Kadima
- 2005 Midnight Peacocks, It's a Brutal Machine, Earsay
- 2006 Habiluim, Bereavement and Failure, NMC
- 2006 Midnight Peacocks, Three, Earsay
- 2008 Harold Rubin, Yoni Silver, Maya Dunietz, Mono Musical Suite for Three Manic Musicians Levontin
- 2008 Boom Pam, Puerto Rican Nights, 8th Note
- 2009 Ori Mark, Don't Talk about Sex, 8th Note
- 2009 Itamar Rothschild, Itamar Rothschild, Hed Artzi
- 2011 Cheveu, 1000, Born Bad Records
- 2011 Maya Dunietz, John Edwards, Steve Noble, Cousin It, Hopscotch Records
- 2012 Iancu Dumitrescu/Ana-Maria Avram, Live in Israel, Edition Modern
- 2013 Habiluim, Escalation Hora, independent release.
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