O’Riley and Haimovitz Bring Mix of Classical and Contemporary to FAC

Pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz, both renowned for their virtuosic and nuanced performances, will perform Monday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.

Their collaboration, Shuffle.Play.Listen, is now making waves in the musical world. It began in 2011 with a two-CD set recorded by the duo – classical pieces on the first CD, and reworked popular pieces on the second.

Ticket holders are invited to attend a Pre-Concert Fireside Chat with NEPR Afternoon Classical Music host Walter Carroll at 6:30 p.m. at the University Club.

The first half of the program will be pre-arranged, and the second half will be decided from the stage, giving the artists the opportunity to share the context of the program, and allowing the music to flow seamlessly from one genre to the next. The program as a whole showcases their talents as collaborators and soloists; the pair play classical works by the likes of Bach, Gabrielli, Piazzolla and Stravinsky, alongside popular music by Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and Blonde Redhead.

O’Riley is well known for hosting the popular NPR music program “From the Top,” and also the PBS show “From the Top at Carnegie Hall,” which ran for two seasons. But O’Riley first made a name for himself as one of the leading American pianists of his generation, touring extensively and appearing with every major orchestra. His renown stretched outside the classical music world when he began to release recordings of popular music reimagined for piano, including his version of Radiohead’s “True Love Waits” album, which drew positive reviews from Rolling Stone and other major music magazines. His piano tributes to the work of Elliott Smith and Nick Drake were similarly well received, and he continues to perform both classical and popular music.

Haimovitz made his debut at the age of 13 as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. By age 17, he made his first recording for the German label Deutsche Grammophon, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has since performed on many esteemed stages with the likes of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Haimovitz gained attention in 2003 for bringing his solo cello recitals to clubs around the US, UK and Canada, including a performance at New York’s infamous CBGB club which was filmed by ABC News. This is a homecoming for Haimovitz, who served as a faculty member in the department of music and dance from 1993 to 2004. His fresh take on familiar repertoire as well as more current pop music has brought many new listeners to the world of classical music.

Tickets for Shuffle.Play.Listen are $40, $30 and $15; Five College, GCC, STCC students and youth 17 and under are $10. For tickets call the FAC Box Office at 545-2511, or purchase online at fineartscenter.com.