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Matt Haimovitz, Christopher O'Riley Coming to Schwab

by on January 06, 2013 8:45 AM

In a concert based on their double-CD "Shuffle.Play.Listen," pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz serve up a collaboration that weaves in and out of classical, rock, jazz and pop genres. The concert, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, in Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium, showcases the duo’s virtuosity while helping to define what it means to be a contemporary artist.

Concert attendees can expect works by the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach, Radiohead, Giovanni Gabrieli, Arcade Fire, Igor Stravinsky, John McLaughlin, Leos Janacek, Cocteau Twins, Dmitri Shostakovich and Astor Piazzolla. The musicians announce the evening’s selections from the stage, which enables them to share the musical context with the audience. It also helps the music to flow smoothly from one genre to the next.

Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts presentation are $42 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $32 for a person 18 or younger. Buy tickets online at or by phone at (814) 863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except Dec. 24 through Jan. 1), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, except Dec. 22 through Jan. 1), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays when Penn State classes are in session) and Bryce Jordan Center (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, except Dec. 24 through Jan. 1). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

The concert is part of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project, a three-year effort providing opportunities to engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs. O’Riley and Haimovitz are going to be in residence at Penn State for three days (Jan. 16 to 18), the first at Penn State Altoona and the following two at University Park. Learn more about the free events at

O’Riley, host of NPR’s classical music show "From the Top," performs works from the classical canon and groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake.

"True Love Waits," O’Riley’s first album of Radiohead transcriptions, garnered a four-star review from Rolling Stone. The pianist followed up with "Hold Me to This: Christopher O’Riley Plays the Music of Radiohead." "Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute," which interpreted the complex and emotional music of a troubled singer-songwriter, won praise from both pop and classical music reviewers. "Second Grace — The Music of Nick Drake," O’Riley’s fourth collection of popular song transcriptions, highlights the mysterious repertoire of the late British guitar ace and songwriter.

O’Riley, who has toured with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, has performed with the philharmonic orchestras of New York City, Los Angeles, Moscow and London (Royal Philharmonic), plus the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and San Francisco.

Haimovitz made his debut in 1984, at age 13, as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic. At 17, he recorded his first album with the Chicago Symphony. His "Meeting of the Spirits" earned a Grammy Award nomination for best classical crossover album and won a Grammy for best producer of the year (classical).

The cellist, who has included rock selections on his recordings, goes out of his way to perform in settings not typically associated with classical music. So in addition to taking up the bow at renowned concert halls and festivals, often as a solo recitalist, Haimovitz has played in clubs and coffee houses. He was the first classical musician to appear at New York City’s infamous CBGB club, a performance that was videotaped for ABC’s "Nightline UpClose." Haimovitz also mentors an award-winning studio of young cellists at McGill University in Montreal.

The Norma and Ralph Condee Chamber Music Endowment will sponsor the presentation. WPSU will be the media sponsor. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring O’Riley and Haimovitz, will be offered in Schwab one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

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