Israeli Maya Beiser is a cellist – and a rebel.
Her most recent album, Elsewhere: A CelloOpera, is based on the biblical story of Lot’s wife, a woman who blatantly disobeyed God’s orders.
“[Refusing] to follow the cruel and arbitrary command of her god, [Lot’s wife made] a choice to be compassionate, to be human, to be feminine,” wrote Beiser on the Elsewhere official website.
One of her major mentors was Isaac Stern, a Jewish-Polish violinist who played for wounded IDF soldiers during the Yom Kippur War and was a frequent performer at the Jerusalem Theater.
Stern was the first to discover Beiser in her early childhood and she continued to work with him throughout her career, but she deviated from his classical path when she discovered the world of rock and roll.
She described rock music as the “forbidden fruit” of her childhood on her website. Beiser grew up on a kibbutz.
Beiser’s professional career began during her IDF service when she played in the army’s string quartet, but her popularity skyrocketed when she arrived in the U.S.
She debuted at the 92nd Street Y in the 1980s and went on to form the ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars, and also forged her own solo career.
She has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan.
In her TED Talk, “A Cello With Many Voices,” Beiser described her mission.
“I want to create endless possibilities with this cello. I become the medium through which the music is being channeled.”