The Women Behind Maya Beiser

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Cellist Maya Beiser has dedicated her career to pushing the limits of her instrument's repertoire. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Beiser has worked with a diverse array of collaborators, from Tan Dun to Brian Eno, Steve Reich and James Newton Howard. Her multimedia opera Elsewhere premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music earlier this month.

Maya Beiser writes the following of her mixtape:

I have just completed a run of my multimedia cello opera – Elsewhere – at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 30th Next Wave Festival. The piece tells the story of two women fighting to survive in an unjust and brutal world. One of the characters is inspired by Lot’s Wife – the nameless biblical woman from Sodom who was punished for disobeying god’s command not to look back at her burning city. She has captured my imagination since first grade when my teacher told us her story.

I spent my childhood years studying the masterpieces of Western classical music. The composers, without exception, all belonged to a strictly male, exclusive club. Is it conceivable that no woman ever wrote music or painted a masterpiece? I often think about the women throughout the millennia who were prevented from expressing their artistic impulses.

In this hour of music I want to share with you the music of the women who impacted me the most – both composers and performers; those who touched and moved me to my core, who challenged me to rethink everything I thought I knew about life and music and art and love; those who have inspired me for years, and those who I have just recently discovered.



Julia Wolfe - Believing (from “Renegade Heaven”; Bang On A Can All-Stars)
Hildegard von Bingen - O Vis Aeternitatis  (from “Canticles of Ecstasy”; Sequensia)
Janis Joplin - Cry Baby (from “Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits”)
Laurie Anderson - O Superman (from “Big Science”)                                                                      
Edward Elgar - Cello Concerto in E minor: Movements I & II (Jaqueline Du Pré, cello; London Symphony Orchestra; Sir John Barbirolli)
Meredith Monk - Education Of The Girlchild (from “Dolmen Music")
Missy Mazzoli - Like A Miracle (from “Cathedral City”; Victoire)
Sofia Gubaidulina - The Canticle Of The Sun: Glorification of Death (Kremerata Baltica; Gidon Kremer, violin)
BjörkSolstice (from “Biofillia”)
Frédéric Chopin - Sonata for Cello & Piano in G Minor Op. 65: III – Largo (from "The Art of Martha Argerich"; Martha Argerich and Mstislav Rostropovich)
Anna Thorvaldsdottir - Hrim (from "Rhizoma")
Eve Beglarian - My Feelings Now (from "Play Nice/Twisted Tutu")
Mercedes Sosa - Gracias A La Vida (from "Gracias A La Vida")