The Cellist: Maya Beiser + Jamshed Bharucha
Cellist Maya Beiser converses with cognitive scientist Jamshed Bharucha about tonality and what effect music has on our psyche and well-being following a performance of Michael Harrison's Just Ancient Loops. The cello becomes an 'Über-instrument', laying down drones, building rhythmical grooves on top of each other, singing melismatic melodies, and reaching up to the stratosphere as the music and film evolves and builds into a massive, exhilarating climax.
Just Ancient Loops can be described as an “Orchestra of Cellos,” as it gradually builds up to a climax of 22 independent pre-recorded cello parts. Composed between 2007 and 2011, including approximately 3 weeks in the recording studio between December 2010 and October 2011 recording and mixing the tracks with Grammy award winning producer Adam Abeshouse, Just Ancient Loops is a large and complex work, devoted to exploring the enormous range and sonic possibilities of the cello when played in pure intonation.
The work is in three interconnected movements and is 25 minutes in duration. Each cello part was recorded by Maya, and in performance Maya plays the lead part supported and surrounded by all of the other pre-recorded parts.
About the Speakers
Maya Beiser is a featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages from Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and London’s Southbank Centre, to the Sydney Opera House, Beijing Festival, and Taipei’s National Concert Hall, where she has collaborated with artists across a wide range of musical styles, including Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Tan Dun, David Lang, James Newton Howard, and Carter Burwell, among many others. In 2011, Maya was invited to present at the exclusive TED conference; her TEDtalk has now been watched by nearly one million people. A graduate of Yale University, Maya was a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Her discography includes six solo albums and many studio recordings and film music collaborations, and her latest recording Time Loops was selected among NPR’s top 10 recordings of 2012. www.mayabeiser.com
Jamshed Bharucha is a cognitive neuroscientist who has published extensively on the cognitive and neural underpinnings of music, and has been awarded grants from NSF and NIH for his work. More recently, he has written and lectured widely on the challenges facing higher education, emphasizing the need for bold innovations in learning and global engagement. Dr. Bharucha began his academic career at Dartmouth College, where he was named the John Wentworth Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. A signature accomplishment of his administrative work at Dartmouth was the creation of the nation’s first brain imaging facility for the study of cognitive neuroscience outside of a clinical setting. In 2002, Bharucha was appointed Provost and Senior Vice President of Tufts University. Under his leadership as Provost, annual sponsored research doubled to $175 million, revenues from the transfer of technology increased eight-fold to $8 million, and the university launched an international strategy focusing on Mexico, India and China. President Bharucha is a classically trained violinist, having received an Associate’s Diploma in Violin Performance from the Trinity College of Music, London, in 1973. Dr. Bharucha is currently the 12th President of Cooper Union.