An Interview with Maya Beiser

Described as a “cello goddess” by New York magazine, Maya Beiser is known for performing with “the kind of magnetic panache usually reserved for rock stars.” Since violinist Isaac Stern discovered her “at age 12 in a little kibbutz in Israel,” Beiser has determinedly and unapologetically forged her own musical path, one where Johann Sebastian Bach and Janis Joplin hold equal sway.

Beiser recently visited DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., to perform works from her new album, Uncovered, as well as pieces from her 2012 album, Time Loops. Dean Mark McCoy interviewed Beiser and discussed her illustrious career.

Interview Highlights

On collaboration and working with other genre-busting artists:

“I feel that it’s what feeds something new and innovative. For me, it’s always been about meeting fascinating people. I think that any successful artistic endeavor always involves a lot of great collaborations.”

On finding your musical path:

“When you have a passion for something, and you go for it, and you’re not afraid to try what feels right, eventually it leads you in the right direction. I think that it’s about carving things and being a leader as opposed to responding, which is not always easy.”

On the term “crossover”:

“The reason crossover has a bad name is because the whole idea started from a marketing point of view — someone sitting at a record company saying, ‘Oh we have Renée Fleming or Placido Domingo. They’re so great, but we need to reach out to this other kind of audience. Why don’t we have them do some Frank Sinatra work?’ And then they bring them together, they get someone to arrange this thing for them, and as wonderful artists as they are, the project is not likely to be that convincing because it’s not coming from their gut.

“So, the one thing that is true about everything I’ve done in my career is that it’s always been driven by the things that really meant something to me. And I think that’s very important. You need to keep this honesty as an artist. I think ultimately the audience and the people out there sense that.”

Mark McCoy

Mark McCoy has had a diverse career as performer, actor, conductor, composer, author, academic and dean. He is a champion of 21st Century music and musicians. …more 

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Isabel Lopez-Roldan says:

    Maya Beiser performs with so much love and passion that transmits effortlessly to her audience. I don’t think she would immerse herself as much in the music if she wasn’t staying true and playing music she really connects with. So, I believe she makes a great point by saying that we should keep our honesty as artists. At the end of the day, what people will truly appreciate are performers who shares parts of themselves rather than trying to conform to the music tastes of their audience.

  2. Tyler Schaefers says:

    Maya Beiser makes some great points throughout the interview. Although becoming a 21st Century musician is a difficult task, if that’s what you really want to do, you have to go for it. If you try something and it doesn’t work, learn from your mistakes and keep pushing. Persistence is the key to success.

  3. Allan Whitehead says:

    I love Maya’s comments about someone having a passion and just “going for it”. In a profession that requires hours upon hours of dedication and hard work, I can’t think of any better advice than to just give it all of your effort. I also really enjoyed Maya’s comments that her career has been driven by things that really mean something to her. Through this comment I can tell that she is in the music industry for more than just money and that she is pursuing a level of excellence that is rarely seen.

  4. Kevin Salinas says:

    Maya Beiser’s interview really drove the point home about being unafraid to go out and take chances. The only way that you are going to find out if something works or not is to put yourself out there, which is exactly what she did, and now she does these performances because she enjoys to to do them

  5. Natalia Fumero says:

    I don’t know a single person who could take his/her eyes off Maya Beiser when she is performing. We can truly see why that is in this interview. She knows what it takes to take the audience attention and she is obviously very adept in the techniques besides being completely devoted t music.

  6. Saige Trottman-Huiet says:

    Like many previous comments, I really appreciate Maya Beiser’s convictions on doing things that matter to her. It is what makes her performances and overall music so powerful. It is clearly what she wants to perform, not what would be marketably successful. That devotion to her own expression is incredibly powerful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *