Support the news

Maya Beiser Spins The Clock Back To Bach

A still from Maya Beiser's "Air" video. (Courtesy of the artist)closemore
A still from Maya Beiser's "Air" video. (Courtesy of the artist)

Cellist Maya Beiser finds no boundaries in music. In her TED talk, she recalls the intermingling of J.S. Bach's cello suites and the chanting of Muslim prayers from an Arab village near the Kibbutz in Israel where she grew up. She's equally comfortable navigating brand-new commissions from today's top composers or looping her cello into a wall of sound in rock standards by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

In this video, associated with the upcoming album TranceClassical (due out July 29), Beiser plays with time and memory. She turns the clock back to her childhood — to the days of snuggling with a blanket on the sofa, hearing Bach's music for the first time off a scratchy old LP.

As the needle hits the vinyl, two dancers, like the hands of a clock, move across a rotating turntable to the strains of Beiser's cello. She's looped her instrument into a chamber ensemble for Bach's "Air," the sublime second movement from his Orchestral Suite No. 3. The pulsating bass line ticks away, reminding us of the timelessness of the music — already 285 years old.

In the midst of all the new music that Beiser commissions and performs, Bach, she says, is her "artistic mooring."

Copyright NPR 2016.

+Join the discussion

Support the news

Next Up

Where to now?

More NPR or Explore Audio.