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Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar

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Ambient Orchestra
Conducted by
Evan Ziporyn
Maya Beiser, cello


Presented in partnership with the Butler School of Music and KMFA-FM

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Internationally renowned cellist Maya Beiser joins composer/conductor Evan Ziporyn and his Ambient Orchestra to perform Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar, a startling and soaring new version of David Bowie’s entire last album Blackstar. The Boston Globe declares, “With virtuoso chops, rock-star charisma, and an appetite for pushing her instrument to the edge of avantgarde adventurousness, Maya Beiser is the post-modern diva of the cello,” while Rolling Stone calls her a “cello rockstar.” 


The orchestra's approach took advantage of the riche, jazz-infused harmonic palette of Blackstar.

The Boston Globe


Fun Facts:

  • Evan Ziporyn, who spearheaded this project, is a Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT. He also serves as Chair of Music and Theater Arts, and in 2012 was appointed inaugural Director of MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology.
  • Three weeks after Bowie’s death, Ziporyn assembled an 80-person orchestra to play two Philip Glass symphonies that reference the work of Bowie.
  • The Blackstar project premiered at MIT's Kresge Auditorium and featured renowned cellist, Maya Beiser, who will also perform with the orchestra at Texas Performing Arts.
  • David Bowie released Blackstar on his 69th birthday. He died two days later.
  • At the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, Blackstar won awards for Best Alternative Music Album; Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; Best Recording Package, and the title single won Best Rock Performance, and Best Rock Song.