Erik Friedlander - Bio
"Erik Friedlander can do things with a cello that should have a reasonable listener fearing for her life,"
"Rostropovich one second and Rottweiler the next."
Cellist Erik Friedlander is a composer, an improviser, and a veteran of NYC's downtown scene. Friedlander started studying music at an early age, beginning at age 5 with guitar and then at age 8, cello lessons. He grew up in a house filled with music as his father, an avid music lover, made countless mixtapes. Erik's desire to actively participate in the swirl of music styles he grew accustom to hearing led him to find new ways to play the cello. Erik’s recent work include a limited edition LP with photographer Mitch Epstein entitled (American Power), and a remix EP (10" vinyl) with producer Scott Solter called No Compass: Solter Resets Friedlander. The New Yorker Magazine called his solo cello reinterpretation of American roots music (Block Ice & Propane) "..a magnificent new solo album.." and The New York Times said Friedlander's The Broken Arm Trio, a tribute to bassist Oscar Pettiford, was an "..effervescent small-group jazz executed with wit and soul."
Friedlander spent November of 2012 in Europe touring Bonebridge, an improvising quartet of cello, slide-guitar, bass and drums, inspired by the music of the American South and will record a new CD for the Bonebridge band in May of 2013.
Erik is preparing to release Claws & Wings, a work dedicated to his late wife, featuring laptop percussionist Ikue Mori and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier. Friedlander has composed music for ads, dance works, documentaries and, most recently, completed the score for "Nothing On Earth", a documentary about the work of landscape photographer Murray Fredericks's and his trips to the Greenland icecap. Erik also scored the feature film Future Weather, which was shown in limited release
"Mr. Friedlander, an ingenious cellist who makes an art of soulful rusticity." says Nate Chinen of The New York Times.
Erik was born in New York City in 1960 and grew up in
suburban Rockland County, son of the noted artist Lee
Friedlander. Lee is also known by
musicians and jazz aficionados for the cover photos he
took for Atlantic Records. His passion for r&b and
jazz greatly influenced Erik, whose earliest memories are
of a household filled with the sounds of his father's
subjects--Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, McCoy Tyner,
Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane.
Erik started playing guitar at age 6 and added cello two
years later. He began formal lessons at age 12. Erik
continued his musical studies at Columbia University in
1978. Upon graduation, he spent the next decade refining
his cello technique through long hours of practice,
supporting himself by playing in various orchestras and
Broadway shows, recording commercial music for jingles
and movies, and doing session work with artists like
Laurie Anderson, Courtney Love's Hole, and Dar Williams.
He also started his first small groups and made his first
recordings. Erik came into his own in the 1990s as he
became an integral part of NYC's downtown jazz scene
receiving notices in publications like the Boston Globe,
The Wire, and Billboard which wrote, "Friedlander [is]
one of today's most ingenious and forward-thinking
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"Friedlander [is] one of today's most ingenious and
forward-thinking musical practitioners."
Steve Graybow, Billboard Magazine
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