Groundbreaking experimental cellist and multimedia artist Cellista soon will be launching a national tour of her ‘Transfigurations’ multimedia work album and book, co-authored with the philosopher Dr. Frank Seeburger.
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.
The ‘Transfigurations’ book is designed to explore moments of transfigurations to complement the album. ‘A Listener’s Guide to Cellista’s Transfigurations’, is far more than liner notes to the album – it includes brief and wonderfully readable essays by Cellista, in which she addresses the personal moments of transfiguring experiences in her own life, including events that allowed her to find her artistic voice; a gruesomely compelling experience of a neighbor’s suicide and her life-changing work with Oliver Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time; and her finding—or being found by—the way to Transfigurations itself. Within the book, Dr. Seeburger also addresses transfiguring moments in his own life experiences.
The album and the book can be taken individually or together. But the conjunction of the two, which is found especially in its culminating multimedia concert, offers rich, transfiguring explorations of transfiguration itself.
Cellista will give multimedia performances coast to coast with guest collaborators from across disciplines, directing and performing in an immersive event that integrates dance, film, literature and music. This wonderfully intricate performance involves numerous collaborators:
Dancers Ransom Dance & Mojo DeVille
A full-length accompanying film by Jennifer Gigantino
The Juxtapositions Chamber Ensemble
Composer Sean Renner
Blues band The Blind Bandits
Noise Band War Hippy
Skin Suspension artist & soprano Operafication
“Transfigurations encapsulates the experiences of those around me in the Bay Area. Those stories reach far beyond my immediate home and in touring Transfigurations, I am eager to share this culmination and merging of the worlds around me. It is mix of history and despair that is encapsulated by music at its core and other media like dance and film which week to further the voices of my community,” explains Cellista.
“The multimedia concerts are immersive and feature dance performances from Ransom Dance and Mojo DeVille. It is performed alongside a full-length film created by filmmaker Jennifer Gigantino, which is live scored by Cellista.”
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 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.
‘Transfigurations’ is available now on limited edition CD and at shows, and comes with a full-length book and download code. It can be found everywhere digitally, including Bandcamp, where the book is downloadable as a PDF for anyone purchasing the album there. The book is also being released separately via online retail sites like Amazon.
01 Rupture I
03 Rupture II
04 Look Homeward, Angel
05 Rupture III
06 You Can’t Go Home Again
07 Rupture IV
09 Rupture V
10 When the War Began
i. The Enduring Moments Before Disaster
ii.Falling From the Sky
iii. Into the Storm
11 Tzeva Adom
LIVE DATES (tickets at the door or reserve online via Facebook)
July 18-Aug 25 San Jose, CA – performing in City Light Theater’s production of ‘Cabaret’
Sept 06 Brooklyn, NY – Arete Gallery
Sept 08 Boston, MA – Lilypad
Sept 14 San Francisco, CA – SFMOMA
Awesome Orchestra reads ‘Look Homeward, Angel’
Sept 20 Seattle, WA – Wayward Music Series
(with The Zero Collective, noisepoetnobody)
Sept 22 Portland, OR – a steep & thorny way to heaven
(with Operafication, The Zero Collective)
Sept 24 Los Angeles, CA – Coaxial (Noise Soirée)
(with The Zero Collective, Crank Sturgeon, Anna Homler)
Sept 27 Denver, CO – Mercury Cafe (with Sean Renner)
Oct. 06 Sacramento, CA – NorCal Noise (Part of Norcal Noisefest)
Oct. 18 Los Angeles, CA – Art Share (with Sean Renner)
Oct. 25 Oakland, CA – Temescal Arts Center (with Mia Pixley)
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