Cellist Maya Beiser will participate in the Rubin Museum of Art’s Brainwave: Mind Over Matter series with cognitive psychologist Jamshed Bharucha on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 6pm at the Rubin Museum of Art (150 West 17th Street). Maya will perform composer Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops, a 25-minute piece with film, and will converse with Bharucha about tonality and what effect music has on our psyche and wellbeing. The seventh annual Brainwave, a series of on-stage conversations, films and experiences, explores the role the brain plays in helping us overcome adversity, survive tests of endurance, and understand faith.
Tickets: $25 at 212.620.5000 x344 or www.rmanyc.org/brainwave
Composer Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops unveils every aspect of the cello – from its most glorious and mysterious harmonics to earthy, rhythmic pizzicatos – all utilizing “just intonation,” an ancient tuning system in which the distances between notes are based upon whole number ratios.
Just Ancient Loops was composed for Maya Beiser and dedicated to her. The work can be described as an “orchestra” of cellos as it gradually builds up to a climax of twenty-two independent, pre-recorded cello parts. Composed between 2007 and 2011, including approximately three weeks in the recording studio 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. Each cello part was recorded by Maya, and in performance she plays the lead part supported and surrounded by all of the pre-recorded parts.
Maya Beiser’s premiere of Just Ancient Loops at the Bang on a Can Marathon in June 2012 was highlighted in The New York Times, which reported, “Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops, an appealing mix of live and recorded cello lines, raga-inspired drones and Minimalist rhythms [was] performed by Maya Beiser.” Her recording of the piece as part of the album Time Loops was chosen as among NPR Music’s top recordings of 2012.