Performing only traditional classical music doesn't interest cellist Maya Beiser.
"This whole purist notion of classical music having to be this stiff, serious thing ... it's never felt right to me," she said.
The musician loves western classical music and considers it the backbone of her musical career but doesn't feel the need to restrict herself to the style.
Cellist Maya Beiser will bring her multimedia music event, “World to Come,” at 8 p.m. Friday in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University, Lewisburg. Beiser is a classically trained, experimental cellist who has collaborated with Philip Glass and Brian Eno.
"I am chasing whatever influences that I find relevant to my life today and my generation and the culture that I live in," she said. "And that includes different kinds of musical influences."
Some of those influences include Middle Eastern music, jazz and rock - there's a video on YouTube of Beiser covering Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and she's also worked with rock pioneers Brian Eno and Trent Reznor.
"I'm interested in finding ways to expand the sound of the cello and to find new ways of making that instrument live in the musical universe," she said.
Her experimentations have manifested themselves in her multimedia music event, "World to Come," which will come to the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University at 8 p.m. Friday.
Beiser wanted to incorporate imagery into her live shows because she experiences music visually as well as auditorily.
"First of all, I'm a very visual person," she said. "I see music in colors and in images and I also feel very strongly that when you go onstage and perform, that it has to be an event. It has to be something that is all-encompassing."
The imagery also helps to immerse the listeners in Beiser's world.
"The visuals help me take the audience along on the ride and bring them into my universe," she said. "I feel like they are just part of, you know, what it is that I want to say and how I want to say it ... it's an event, so the visuals are a natural extension of that."
Beiser's efforts have attracted the attention of some of the best contemporary composers, including Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov and Steve Reich, all of whom she has collaborated with. She also has performed on soundtracks for three well-known films, "The Happening," "The Great Debaters" and "Blood Diamond."
Beiser was born and raised in Galilee, Israel, where she grew up surrounded by artistically inclined folks.
"I was very fortunate to have grown up in the Galilee area in the northern part of Israel," she said. "It was a very artistic community, so everybody played an instrument when we were 6 - in the first grade."
She said that from the beginning, she felt nothing but encouragement from her family and friends.
"I was very lucky to have remarkable support for my artistic inclinations and my musical talent from my family and parents and the whole community. It was great."
Her upbringing provided her with the musical education that would become the basis of her future experiments.
"I feel very fortunate to have had that kind of base," she said. "It allows me to have this foundation so when I do the crazy stuff I do now, I know I can rely on that solid foundation."
One of her recent projects was a cello opera that premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music festival this year.
"It was really a multimedia theater piece," she said. "It had a lot of different elements and electronics."
Tickets for "World to Come" at The Weis Center are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and $10 for children and Bucknell students.
For more information about the show and the university, visit bucknell.edu.