Stephen Katz makes some remarkably innovative music with the cello. While revering its traditions, he is on the cutting edge of liberating the instrument from being locked into the printed page.His composition, Eight Days of Eve is the most beautiful piece of "looped" music I have ever heard.
- Paul Winter, Grammy Award Winner, Paul Winter Consort
With a bow and fingers as light as feathers Stephen Katz makes a cello punctuate spoken lines, arias and choruses to bring out meanings you might not have suspected were there.
- New York Times
"...His musical talents are formidable! He has a distincive harmonic language, lovely sense of phrasing, chops and a beautiful voice.
- Eugene Friesen, cellist, composer, member of Paul Winter Consort
A cellist whose name is almost synonymous with our festival, Stephen Katz has revolutionized pizzicato technique for the cello. His use of looping to layer multiple tracks of cello is breathtaking.
All of this is in the service of his beautiful and creative, original music.
- Chris White, Director, New Directions Cello Association
If you've never heard Stephen's music, then you are in for an amazing treat. Far beyond what you might think of as "cello" music, it breaches the ethereal and moves into deep mystical experience.
- Miles, The Warm Room, Northampton, MA
LINER NOTES FROM STEPHEN:
Looking Up is a collection of improvisations and compositions from these sources:
1. Seven was improvised in my studio using looping machinery (see below) and minimally edited for the final version.
2. Bitterroot is the prelude to a much longer as-yet-unrecorded piece. This track was performed live (without looping or multi-tracking) at the New Directions Cello Festival in June, 2002.
3. Treetops is an improvisation which became the foundation for a multi-track piece used in a score for Wire Monkey Dance company of Holyoke, MA.
4. Eight Days Of Eve is a live-loop piece but was recorded for this disk one track at a time.
5. Surfacing was composed for a dance by Lesley Farlow, teacher at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.
6 - 9. These tracks were improvised while I watched painter Leandro Soto (Arizona State University faculty) create a vibrantly colorful painting on a large sheet of white paper.
As a soloist who uses live looping electronics to generate full ensemble textures from a single instrument, Katz has distinguished himself as a composer of seamlessly integrated pieces that unfold layer-by-layer in concert.
Stephen Katz is a cellist, guitarist, composer and teacher. He premiered his cello compositions at Carnegie Recital Hall in 2001 and frequently performs with the Paul Winter Consort. He is composer and music director of Wire Monkey Dance, has collaborated and performed with members of Pilobolus Dance Company, and has been a Visiting Artist at Amherst College. As a co-founder of the cello/movement/theater company Seen & Heard with the late dancer/monologist BJ Goodwin, Stephen literally danced with the cello while accompanying the dramas they played out on stage. He has been a pioneer in the art of what he calls Counterpoint Strumming techniques for the cello and continues to develop a repertoire of deeply rhythmic compositions which incorporate melody and accompaniment into a single, idiomatic cello part. Stephen’s solo recording First Person Singular features his songwriting, singing and guitar playing in addition to the cello, and was hailed by Connecticut Songsmith as "an incredible debut album by a new and important artist”. His recent releases (Looking Up, Earthdance, and Works For Dance And Theater) feature his looped compositions and improvisations. A native of San Francisco, Stephen received a Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and lives in Haydenville, Massachusetts.