California's groundbreaking avant artist Cellista presents 'Transfigurations' LP
In a region known for disrupting the status quo, Cellista is celebrating the legacy of the original disruptors – Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News
Cellista is pushing the envelope further... Cellista is a true visionary with the reality she is manifesting inclusive of all artforms and cutting across musical genres from hip hop, avant garde, opera, ambient, minimalism and alternative pop – Spill Magazine
Cellista is a classically-trained, punk rock spirited girl with the charm and elegance to defy the stereotype that classical music isn’t cool – Belle Foundation
Built on a classical foundation, her music is beautifully avant-garde yet accessible enough to touch one’s sensitivities and create intrigue surrounding her music, her world-view, her all-encompassing vision – elegantly combining sound, space and dance in an impactful way and the meshed field of wonderment connecting them – Big Takeover Magazine
More than just a cellist – Nathan Zanon, Content Magazine
She gave me quotes to put around the emptiness. She gave me context. And subtext. And reflex-tions of what has now filled the void– Gary Singh, journalist, poet, Steinbeck Fellow
An overall brilliant gem. True to her “pastiche” curatorial style, this inclusion and collaboration with other creatives is what makes a captivating and mesmerizing listening experience – Cherri Lakey, KQED
Groundbreaking experimental cellist and multimedia artist Cellista presents her new 'Transfigurations' album. As a stage poem, this entails a multi-media work that includes dance, poetry, original classical compositions, noise and sound textures. "In 2017, Transfigurations began growing out of a avant-garde performance art piece I wrote, composed, and directed called 'Wants'. It was meant to be a response to Trump and the rapid gentrification of the Bay, and address the tragedy of the Ghost Ship fire. Wants became a 20-minute film that my regular filmmaker Jennifer Gigantino shot and edited. The ruptures feature sounds from the Internet Archive and there are lots of historical recordings and found sounds, most originating from the Bay area," explains Cellista.
'Transfigurations' is a response to the world we inhabit. It is meant to allow us all, singularly and as a community, to see the ruptures that punctuate our place in the present - The ache of the Ghostship that points to greater ruptures interwoven like veins; the call to resist the deadening of our world by institutions and false power, and the violence of gentrification and displacement. Above all, for Cellista, it is a way of seeing and sharing an awareness of her own impact within this shared place.
Earlier, Cellista presented 'Look Homeward, Angel', a cutting edge genre-bending track featuring the lyrics and rhymes of hip hop artist DEM ONE (a.k.a. Demone Carter) and beautiful soprano vocals by Melissa Wimbish. She also premiered the track 'Confessions' featuring Rykarda Parasol.
Engineered by longtime collaborator Maryam Qudus and Grammy-winner Nahuel Bronzini, 'Transfigurations' features original compositions and arrangements by Cellista and also involves Bay area composers Peter Colclasure, Nick Vasallo and Be’eri Moalem with his piano quintet Tzeva Adom. The album also features the original poetry of Aubrey Ferreira, narrated by DEM ONE. The movements are composed and curated in a suite-like manner with genres ranging from thrash metal, noise, hip-hop and classical music. Hailing from San Jose, Cellista's penchant for performing music in unconventional spaces, and her devotion to collaborating with artists across media and genres disrupts the world of the classical performing arts. Cellista traverses the walls between disciplines and the borders between spectator and audience. She etches out her own niche through her performances of captivating theatrical recitals by interweaving film, text, and dance. Her work is deeply rooted in her musicological studies of Olivier Messiaen and the French Surrealists.
Cellista’s sound brims with a dissidence, informed by her classical foundation and her want to tear that very foundation apart. It explores the sounds of her immediate community through sound collages and music curated to augment that community. It also explores the meeting point of musical borders and gives testimony to the fragile ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay Area that sits alongside the rest of the world in an increasingly vulgar epoch.
As an experimental cellist, performance artist and artistic director of the interdisciplinary performing arts group Juxtapositions, Cellista is known for her collaborations with artists across various media, as well as her self-produced stage poems (live performances staged in unconventional spaces that incorporate elements of music, theater, improvisation and visual art across a range of genres including pop, hip-hop, classical and more).
Her interdisciplinary exhibit 'The End of Time' premiered alongside internationally renowned visual artist Barron Storey’s solo exhibit 'Quartet' at the Anno Domini art gallery in San Jose, California. The dual exhibition, created in tribute to French composer Olivier Messiaen’s seminal chamber work 'The Quartet for the End of Time', was met with critical acclaim.
Cellista has worked with Grammy-nominated artist Tanya Donelly, producer John Vanderslice, Troyboi, Don McLean, Casey Crescenzo, Van Dyke Parks, and Pam the Funkstress. She recently joined soprano Carla Canales for Hear Her Song, a project that promotes women’s voices through original compositions by female composers. Under the musical direction of Kurt Crowley (Broadway's Hamilton), her playing was praised.
Cellista's debut 2016 full-length album 'Finding San Jose' was engineered by Maryam Qudus (Doe Eye). The album and its subsequent release as the soundtrack for an interdisciplinary ballet directed and produced by Cellista received favorable reviews.
As of May 31, 'Transfigurations' is available digitally everywhere and on CD, which comes with a full-length book and download code. This limited edition is available via Bandcamp and at live shows.
May 31 San Jose, CA - 'Transfigurations' multimedia release show (with Lady Lazarus) at Anno Domini June 23 Los Angeles - Infinite Noise Outrageous Loud Festival at Coaxial, solo noise set July 18-Aug 25 San Jose, CA - performing in City Light Theater's production of 'Cabaret'
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