Steven Isserlis

Steven Isserlis

Steven Isserlis performed as part of the John Tavener event for MIF13. For more information, please visit the event page by following the link in the left hand panel.

Acclaimed worldwide for his technique and musicianship, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator and author.

As a concerto soloist he appears regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including in recent seasons with the Berlin Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonia Orchestra and András Schiff, Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and David Zinman, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša, Vienna Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard, NHK Symphony and Tadaaki Otaka, the Washington National Symphony and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and The Cleveland Orchestra with Ton Koopman.

As a chamber musician he has devised and performed in programmes at many of the world’s most famous festivals and venues, including most recently the Wigmore Hall, the 92nd St Y in New York, and the festivals of Salzburg, Verbier and Cheltenham.  These specially-devised series have included explorations of Czech music, the teacher-pupil line of Saint-Saens, Faure and Ravel, the affinity of the cello and the human voice, and varied aspects of Robert Schumann’s life and music.

As a recitalist, he enjoys regular collaborations with leading pianists including Thomas Adès, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Jeremy Denk, Kirill Gerstein, Stephen Hough, Olli Mustonen, Connie Shih and Dénes Várjon; his many other regular chamber music partners include Joshua Bell, Michael Collins, Isabel Faust, Pamela Frank and Tabea Zimmermann. 2012 also sees performances with fortepianist Robert Levin of Beethoven’s complete works for cello and keyboard in London, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Aldeburgh.

In recent seasons he has embarked on a series of play-direct projects with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.  This sequence continues in 2012/13 with the Norwegian, Zurich and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestras. Other highlights of the coming season include recitals in London, Paris, Milan, New York, Washington, Chicago, Cleveland and Sao Paulo, and concerto engagements with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Steven Isserlis takes a strong interest in authentic performance and has played with many of the foremost period instrument orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestre des Champs-Elysées and Philharmonia Baroque, frequently working with conductors such as Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Richard Egarr and Nicholas McGegan.  He is also a keen exponent of contemporary music, and has worked with many composers on new works, including John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, Wolfgang Rihm’s Cello Concerto in One Movement, Thomas Adès’s Lieux retrouvés for cello and piano and works for solo cello by Gyorgy Kurtág.

Writing and playing for children is another major interest.  Steven Isserlis’s books for children about the lives of the great composers - Why Beethoven Threw the Stew and its sequel, Why Handel Waggled his Wig – are published by Faber and Faber, and both books have been translated into many languages.  He has recorded a CD for BIS with Stephen Hough entitled Children’s Cello, has his own series of children's concerts at the 92nd St Y, and with composer Anne Dudley has written three “musical tales” for children which are published by Universal Edition.  As an educator, Steven Isserlis gives frequent masterclasses all around the world, and for the past fifteen years he has been Artistic Director of the International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove in Cornwall.

His diverse interests are reflected in an extensive and award-winning discography.  His recording of the complete Solo Cello Suites by J. S. Bach for Hyperion met with the highest critical acclaim, and was Gramophone’s Instrumental Disc of the Year and Critic’s Choice at the Classical Brits.  Other recent releases include an all-Schumann disc for Hyperion with Denes Várjon;  reVisions, a recording of works for cello and chamber orchestra for BIS; and a recital disc for Hyperion with Thomas Adès, including the premiere recording of the latter's Lieux retrouvés.

Steven Isserlis has been the recipient of many honours, including a CBE in recognition of his services to music, Time Out’s Classical Artist of the Year award, and the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau. He gives most of his concerts on the Marquis de Corberon (Nelsova) Stradivarius of 1726, kindly loaned to him by the Royal Academy of Music.

Visit Steven's website here.

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