A FAR CRY with Matt Haimovitz, Cellist

Swasey Chapel | 8pm

A Far Cry stands at the forefront of an exciting new generation in classical music. According to the New York Times, the self-conducted orchestra “brims with personality or, better, personalities many & varied.” On this occasion, the “Criers” share the stage with a renowned musical pioneer who, according to The New Yorker, “electrifies listeners from a few feet away in an intimate club, to the last rows of a concert hall...An expressive maximalist, Matt Haimovitz calls forth a dazzling spectrum of sounds from the depths of his instrument.”


The orchestra “A Far Cry” has no conductor; its musicians stand while they play; and the whole group is run like a democracy—each member gets a chance to voice their opinion about how a piece should played, where instruments should come in, and the emotion that the musicians should aim to evoke. This is a radical idea in the world of classical music, where a director usually has a vision that the musicians then do their best to recreate. One member of the orchestra has even compared the group to the United States Senate; another calls it a “really bratty, talented child.”

Although they may have differing opinions, the musicians work together to run the collective for next to no pay, maintaining a storefront in Jamaica Plain, as well as residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—and they hold triple the rehearsals of an average orchestra. The extra work plays off. AFC is consistently greeted with awed reviews and is considered one of the finest chamber orchestras touring today—and it’s only three years old. Young, brash, and humming with the artistic talents of 17 different musicians, AFC wants to lead with sound, not the formal circumstance that often surrounds classical music.

A Far Cry will be joined by Matt Haimovitz, cello soloist. Playing among talents like Yo Yo Ma, Leonard Rose, and other famous names in classical music earned him a reputation as a prodigy and solo tours and performances throughout Europe. However, Haimovitz was not satisfied with the status quo of concert halls and classic pieces. As a result, he stopped touring and established a record label in order to record all of the Bach Cellos Suites. When he was trying to promote the performance, he was laughed out of his agent’s office—no one wanted to take a chance on a soloist who wasn’t as big a name as Yo Yo Ma. Haimovitz turned to a local jazz/folk club. The promoter was initially resistant, and only agreed to book it if he shared the risk. Haimovitz agreed, and they ended up turning away hundreds at the door at a venue that held 250. The change from Carnegie Hall to places like CBGB (a venue in New York City that helped the careers of bands like the Beastie Boys, Gorilla Biscuits, and The Misfits) and the Knitting Factory (a New York jazz and pop club) was a shock, but the venues helped Haimovitz rediscover Bach in new circumstances. “Going into the clubs, where people feel more comfortable, makes the music more accessible,” Haimovitz told “Sure, I have to work a little harder to build an audience than classical musicians did 20 or 30 years ago, but I really believe in the music I’m playing.”

With their radical approach, these artists are at the forefront of a new blossoming of classical music, and we hope you join us for this one-time-only double bill of Matt Haimovitz and A Far Cry.