Evan Ziporyn, Ambient Orchestra, Maya Beiser – Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 45:37 minutes | 756 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Islandia Music
Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar is a soaring new version of David Bowie’s entire last album Blackstar reimagined for solo cello and orchestra. Arranged for Maya Beiser by Evan Ziporyn, Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar has been performed to great acclaim in Boston, Barcelona, New York City’s Central Park SummerStage, Austin TX, Palo Alto California, Burlington Vermont and Adelaide, Australia.
Maya has been joined in performance by Ambient Orchestra (conducted by Evan Ziporyn), The Barcelona Symphony and ensemble LPR. The Boston Globe recently described Beiser as “a force of nature,” and wrote of the performance of Blackstar in Boston last year, “The orchestra’s approach took advantage of the rich, jazz-infused harmonic palette of ‘Blackstar.’ As the rest of the strings rose up in deep menace and then flitted away like shadows, Beiser’s cello replaced the vocals of ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’ with a shivering panic. . . ‘Lazarus’ reached further down into the grave and further up toward the stars all at once.”
Beiser and Ziporyn’s Blackstar is an homage to David Bowie, who died in January 2016 shortly after the album was released. For both musicians, the ambitious project is a personal one. “To me and my generation, Bowie was a model for what it meant to be an artist or creative person,” Ziporyn explains. Beiser says, “He was so versatile, and he was always exploring and evolving as an artist. He never settled for the easy path. And he himself, as a person, was the totality of his art.”
Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar is currently touring in both multimedia and concert versions. full album recording of Maya Beiser with the Ambient Orchestra conducted by Evan Ziporyn will be released on January 10th, 2020 – the 4-year anniversary of Bowie’s death.
In 2017, visionary cellist Maya Beiser, and innovative composer/conductor Evan Ziporyn, debuted a blockbuster tribute to the late David Bowie, transforming his final album, Blackstar, into a cello concerto for Maya, backed by the The Ambient Orchestra. Following the acclaim of that performance at MIT Kresge Auditorium, they set up to tour the work and have performed Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar around the world. The following year, Alex Rigopulos, co-founder of Harmonix Music, the makers of the hit videogames Rock Band and Guitar Hero,commissioned the art collective Secret Portal,a Boston-based group exploring the use of immersive technologies in public spaces,to create a special visual presentation of the show known as Aura Blackstar: Bowie Cello Symphonic Visualized. The show debuted at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in February 2019.The album Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar, recorded at the museum the following day, is to be released worldwide by Islandia Music Records on January 10th 2020, the 4th anniversary of David Bowie’s death.
Aura Blackstar: Bowie Cello Symphonic Visualized is an immersive “mixed reality” experience created especially for Maya Beiser’s performance of Blackstar. It is a series of animated vignettes, one for each of the Blackstar album’s seven songs. Evocative computer-generated imagery is projected both onto the floor of the stage, and onto the face of Maya’s cello itself. These animations serve first as an entrancing visualization of the music, dynamically transformed by the sound from the live cello and the orchestral prerecorded tracks. The imagery also integrates the songs’ lyrics, which would otherwise be absent as Bowie’s vocal lines are given to Maya Beiser’s cello. Thematically, all seven of the scenes orbit a prominent “black star” on the stage, an anchoring element that is meant to represent Bowie himself, as well as the void that was left by his departure.
To enable projection of imagery onto the face of the cello—which moves as Maya performs—new technology had to be created for this show. The system involves VR spatial sensors for tracking the position and orientation of the cello, combined with a software projection mapping system that “sticks” the video stably to the face of the cello, even as it moves, to magical effect.
02. ‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore
04. Prelude to Sue
05. Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)
06. Girl Loves Me
07. Dollar Days
08. I Can’t Give Everything Away
Maya Beiser, cello
Evan Ziporyn, concept and arranger