Matthew Schoening is a professional cellist who caught my attention recently. I primarily became interested since his current release Elements (Live and Uncut) is presented as a solo concert recorded in front of a live audience. As it turned out the initial reason I became curious was less important to me after I listened to his Avant-Garde electric cello concert in front of a rather enthusiastic audience.
During his live concerts Matthew apparently does a touch of magic too since this one man cello concert ended up sounding more like a full orchestra of string instruments. In addition to cello, fine resonances of acoustic guitar, violin, double bass, and a variety of percussion rhythms are expertly produced. I also found his tenacity for perfecting sounds on electric cello are equal to his fine technical skills of live looping and layering in real time. Because no other musicians are present during concerts, and his current release Elements was live and uncut, it greatly increased my admiration for Matthew Schoening.
Matthew is from a family of music professionals and enjoys free reign to pursue his musical career, which has led to performance opportunities of several prestigious fundraising events. One significant fundraiser given with Mark Steines of Entertainment Tonight was a charitable benefit designed to raise money for relief work in Sierra Leon, West Africa.
Elements by Matthew Schoening is his third Solo Cello release, and the earlier first and second albums; Solo Electric Cello & The Art of Live Looping are like Elements by the Avant-Garde style of cello Instrumentals. In fact, there is also a Cinematic influence in his work I feel shouldn’t be overlooked. Leap of Faith from The Art of Live Looping and then songs Air & Fire from Elements gave me this impression the most.
Elements (Live and Uncut) is a stage session before a live audience of 75 people, and it does create interest by an inherent uncut and recorded in one session format. The original electric cello innovations on Elements are 5 songs titled Water, Air, Fire, Earth, and Spirit, with clapping only at the beginning and end of the 45 minute session.
Matthew performs live concerts and he tours upon request, so if you have a group function or get-together coming up, find out the details at his website. The warm tonal setting and enhanced rhythms of his solo electric cello music is perfect for a wide variety of festive social occasions. In fact I would be interested to hear your group as the next enthusiastic attendees during a live concert venue with Matthew Schoening.
Portrait & cover photos courtesy Greg Gorman.