Kivie Cahn-Lipman: Sumna


Sumna is the third solo album of Kivie Cahn-Lipman (founding cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble, founder of baroque band ACRONYM and HiP Scottish ensemble Makaris, and co-founder of viol consorts LeStrange and Science Ficta). Here he offers first recordings of new cello solos written for him by Daijana Wallace, Édgar Guzmán, and Vincent Calianno, along with a modern classic by Caroline Shaw and a multitracked cello octet by Kaija Saariaho. Cahn-Lipman's passion for early music emerges both in the opening track (a fresh take on HIF Biber's solo violin Passacaglia, a seventeenth-century masterpiece), and the title track (a commission from Mario Diaz de Leon for unaccompanied viola da gamba).


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Time
Total Time 74:16
02Neiges: Nuages de neige
Neiges: Nuages de neige
04Neiges: Étoile de neige I
Neiges: Étoile de neige I
06Neiges: Étoile de neige II
Neiges: Étoile de neige II
07in manus tuas
in manus tuas
08Neiges: Aiguilles de glace
Neiges: Aiguilles de glace
09Notes on the Deliverance Machine
Notes on the Deliverance Machine
10Neiges: Fleurs de neige
Neiges: Fleurs de neige
11Remains (Hecho en México)
Remains (Hecho en México)

I saw snowflakes falling from the dark sky of the Finnish autumn. Focusing on the snow, the idea of writing variations on it and its various forms became clearer in my mind.
—Kaija Saariaho

Sumna means “prayer” or “hymn” in Sanskrit, and the music features echoes of Hildegard of Bingen, heavy metal riffing, and the gamba works of Marin Marais.
—Mario Diaz de Leon

From mysterious and aggressive to soft and sultry, Shades explores many moods. Though centered around a single note, intensity comes through gesture, variation of a simple melody, and breathing.
—Daijana Wallace

In manus tuas is based on a sixteenth-century motet by Thomas Tallis. While there are only a few slices of the piece that reflect exact harmonic changes in Tallis’s setting, the motion (or lack of) is intended to capture the sensation of a single moment of hearing the motet.
—Caroline Shaw

Engineering and mastering: Ryan Streber,   
Editing: Kivie Cahn-Lipman and Ryan Streber
Design: Marc Wolf,   
Cover photo: Evgeni Tcherkasski (

Huge thanks to Mario, Daijana, Vin, and Édgar for the amazing new music, and deep gratitude to Kaija for her approval of multi-tracking the octet.

This recording was made possible in part by a Research Professorship from Youngstown State University.

Kivie Cahn-Lipman

Kivie Cahn-Lipman holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School, and he is a Doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is the founding cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and the director of the new period-instrument ensemble ACRONYM. From 2005-2012 he was a Lecturer in Music in a full-time position shared between Mount Holyoke College and Smith College.

Kivie has recorded on the New Focus, Naxos, Bridge, New Amsterdam, Tzadik, Kairos, Mode, ECM, and Nonesuch labels. The present release is his first solo recording. As a chamber musician, Kivie has performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Rose Theatre, and other major venues on three continents, as well as live on WNYC 93.9 in New York and WFMT 98.7 in Chicago. He has been a faculty member at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Cortona, Italy, since 2012. Kivie plays a 2003 William Whedbee cello, and additionally performs on electric cello, Baroque and piccolo cellos, bass and tenor viols, viola d’amore, and lirone.

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