Natalia Gutman

Natalia Gutman is one of the world’s most esteemed musicians, often referred to by audiences and critics alike as the “Queen of the Cello”.

Her prestige is reflected in the many distinguished awards she holds: National Artist of the USSR (1991), the State Prize of Russian Federation (2000), “Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse” of the Federal Republic of Germany (2005), the Shostakovich Prize (2002 and 2013), the Triumph Award (2002), Fellow of the Royal College of Music London (2010), Musikpreis des Verbandes der Deutschen Konzertdirektionen (2012), Premio NEM in Florence(2014).

After graduating from Galina Kozolupova’s class at the Moscow Conservatoire, Gutman continued her postgraduate studies with Mstislav Rostropovich at the Leningrad Conservatoire. Already before completing the course in June 1968, Rostropovich had invited her to join the pedagogical staff at the Moscow Conservatoire.

From 1959 she participated in various international competitions, winning that year the Gold medal at the Vienna Youth Festival, then First Prize at the International Dvorak Competition in Prague in 1961 and 3rd prize at Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962. In 1967 together with her Duo partner, the pianist Alexei Nasedkin, Gutman was awarded First Prize at the Munich ARD Competition.

1969 she made her brilliant American debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall, playing Bloch’s Schelomo and Prokofiev’s Concertino under Maestro Leopold Stokowksi. On her return to Moscow, the Russian authorities imposed a ban on Gutman’s travel abroad, and she was unable to pursue her international career for 10 years. In Russia nevertheless Gutman’s solo career flourished, and she performed and recorded with the most renowned Soviet conductors such as Kondrashin, Svetlanov, Rozhdestvensky and Temirkanov.

As an enthusiast of chamber music she formed an important musical relationship with the exceptional violinist Oleg Kagan, who became her husband. Together they formed a Trio with Svyatoslav Richter, who also frequently acted as Natalia’s Duo partner. The group was extended to a Piano Quartet whith Yuri Bashmet and Piano Quintet with Viktor Tretiakov. Together they explored the whole chamber music repertoire. Gutman and Kagan’s remarkable interpretation of Brahms double concerto, as well as much of the classical repertoire were highly acclaimed. They also commissioned many composers as Sofiya Gubaidulina, Edison Denisov, Vasily Lobanov and Tigran Mansuryan to write for them. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Alfred Schnittke dedicated a series of works to Gutman and Kagan, including the First Cello Sonata, the Concerto Grosso no 2 for violin and cello (1981), and the first cello Concerto (1984/5).

Finally in December 1978 Gutman was granted permission to travel again outside the Soviet Union, and to resume her international career. Since she playing at the most prestigious halls throughout Europe under such great conductors as Serge Celibidache, Yuri Aronovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Kurt Mazur, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Gustavo Dudamel. The special musical relationship she built up with Claudio Abbado since the early 1980s has resulted in many performances with him, with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the European Comunity Youth Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler orchestra, and the Mozart Orchestra. From 1992 – 2002 together with Abbado Gutman directed the “Berliner Begegnungen” chamber series in Berlin.

Over the years Gutman has made innumerable recordings of both Concerts of Shostakovich with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov (RCA Victor), Dvorak Concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI), Schnittke Concert No.1 and Schumann Concert with London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur and in 2007 another version of Schumann Concert with Claudio Abbado and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Together with Maria Michel-Bayerle she initiated the Live Classics Recording Company in order to publish the many live concert recordings made with Sviatoslav Richter, Oleg Kagan, Eliso Virsaladze, Yuri Bashmet, Vasily Lobanov, Eduard Brunner and many others.

Currently Gutman holds Professorships at the Moscow Conservatoire, at the Private University of Vienna, and the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole (in Italy). Her time is largely divided between giving performances throughout Europe, the Far East, South America and the USA as soloist with orchestras, with Bach’s Suites, duo recitals and chamber music with her Piano Trio(Sviatoslav Moroz, violin and Dmitry Vinnik, piano). She is also much in demand world-wide as a distinguished teacher of master classes.



Mischa Maisky

Mischa Maisky has the distinction of being the only cellist in the world to have

studied with both Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky.

Rostropovich has lauded Mischa Maisky as ”…

one of the most outstanding talents of the younger generation

of cellists.  His playing combines poetry and exquisite delicacy

with great temperament and brilliant technique.”


Born in Latvia, educated in Russia, after his repatriation to Israel, Mischa Maisky has been enthusiastically received in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, New York and Tokyo, along with the rest of the major music centers.

He considers himself as a citizen of the world: „I’m playing an Italian cello, with French and German bows, Austrian and German strings, my daughter was born in France, my oldest son in Belgium, the middle one in Italy and the youngest one in Switzerland, I’m driving a Japanese car, wear a Swiss watch, an Indian necklace and I feel at home everywhere where people appreciate and enjoy classical music.“

As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist during the last 25 years he made well over 30 recordings with such orchestras as Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orpheus und Chamber Orchestra of Europe and others.

One of the highlights in his career was the year 2000 – it was mainly devoted to a world-wide Bach tour which included over 100 concerts! In order to express his deep admiration for this great composer, Mischa Maisky has recorded Bach’s Solo Suites for the third time.

His recordings have enjoyed world-wide critical acclaim and have been awarded five times the prestigious Record Academy Prize in Tokyo, three times Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Grand Prix du Disque in Paris and Diapason d’Or of the Year as well as the coveted Grammy nominations.

Truly a world-class musician and regular guest in most major International Festivals he collaborated with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev and Gustavo Dudamel and his partnerships have included artists as Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Nelson Freire, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen to name just a few.

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt

During his studies with Aldo Parisot at the Juilliard School in New York and with David Geringas at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt won the First Prizes at the German National Music Competition in Bonn, at the 1st International Adam Cello Competition in New Zealand, and at the International Music Competitions in Bayreuth and Markneukirchen / Germany. He was awarded the ”Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris” at the International Rostropovitch Competition in Paris where the international jury was headed by Mstislav Rostropovitch ( also the prize for contemporary music ). He is also a prize winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and at the International Leonard Rose Cello Competition in the USA.

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has performed in Europe, Russia, Asia and the USA as soloist with such prestigious orchestras as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Slovenian RTV Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Houston and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras as well as the
Prague Philharmonia under the batons of Charles Dutoit, Marek Janowski, Yutaka Sado, Gerd Albrecht, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jiri Belohlavek, Vassili Sinaiski, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Andrey Boreyko, Hugh Wolff, Michael Sanderling, Gabriel Feltz, Fabrice Bollon and Markus Poschner.

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has also performed in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Philharmonie am Gasteig and the Herkulessaal in Munich, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Theatre du Champs Elysee, the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, the Wigmore Hall London, the Carnegie Hall and the Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Rudolfinum Prague as well as in the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

He devotes himself to chamber music and has already performed together with such renowned artists as Lang Lang, Christoph Eschenbach, Emanuel Ax, Gil Shaham, Nicolaj Znaider, Leonidas Kavakos, Kyoko Takezawa, Miriam Fried, Edgar Meyer and David Shifrin. From 2000-2002 he was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two of Lincoln Center in New York and together with Jens Peter Maintz he forms the cello duo ”Cello Duello”.

His first CD for Sony Classical French Impressions was released in autumn 2001. The second in 2004 – all cello concertos by Sergei Prokofiev followed by the cello concertos by Schumann and Elgar in April 09 (Sony Classical). For Capriccio he recorded Bloch’s ”Voice in the Wilderness” with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt plays on a cello made by Matteo Goffriller which previously belonged to Hugo Becker.

Valter Despalj

Valter Despalj was born into a Croatian family of professional musicians. He graduated from the Juilliard School where he studied the cello with Leonard Rose. He also took masterclasses with Pablo Casals, Pierre Fournier and André Navarra, and did a two years graduate study with Galina Kozolupova at the Moscow Conservatory.

As a solist Valter Despalj has performed all over the world at major venues such as Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Sydney Opera House and Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam. He is professor at the Zagreb Academy of Music and guest professor at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Conservatory af Amsterdam, and is well known for his unique results as a teacher.

A steady stream of international competition winners have come from his classes in Zagreb. His cello studies and transcriptions have been published by major music publishers, and he is an often used jury member at the most prestigious interational competitions including Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Bach (Leipzig) and ARD (Munich)

Torleif Thedéen

Torleif Thedéen is one of the most highly regarded musicians in Scandinavia. He gained international recognition in 1985 by winning three of the worlds most prestigious cello competitions.

Since then he has been giving concerts all over the world. Thedéen regularly plays not only with all the leading orchestras in Scandinavia, but also with some of the world’s major orchestras, – among them the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and Israel Sinfonietta – under conductors like Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paavo Berglund, Neeme Järvi, Franz Welser-Möst, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leif Segerstam, and Eri Klas.

Torleif Thedéen is also active as a chamber musician, and as such appears in prestigious concert venues worldwide such as Wigmore Hall in London, the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He often participates in prestigious Music Festivals, among them the Verbier Festival (2007), Prague Spring Festival, the festival in Schleswig-Holstein, festivals in in Bordeaux, Oslo, Bath, Stavanger and Kuhmo.

Since 1986 Thedéen has recorded numerous CD’s for BIS, featuring standard repertoire works as well as contemporary music. His CD with the Shostakovich Cello Concertos won the Cannes Classical Award in 1995, and his recording of J.S. Bach’s Solo Suites for solo cello was highly received when it was released in 2000 (Editor’s choice in BBC Music Magazine, Nov 2001). In 2002 his recording of Dvorak’s cello concerto was released.

In 05/06 he made a very successful debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic (Schumann), he has toured with soloists like Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen to European festivals, and returned to New Zeeland, and Australia in 06/07. He also toured Scandinavia and England with the Musica Vitae chamber orchestra from Sweden in Oct 2006.

In 07/08 Mr Thedéen has toured extensively worldwide with Janine Jansen & Maxim Rysanov, following their recording made by DECCA. He performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra in Nov 07.

08/09 he has successfully performed witn London Philharmonic Orchestra (Mario Venzago) in London, toured with the BBC Wales SO, and recorded for cpo with NDR Orchestra in Hannover, Germany. He performed in Musikverein in Vienna, as a soloist in Beethovens Tripple Concerto with Wiener Symphoniker (Jan 09), and in France with Orchestre Philharmonique de Bordeaux. In 2009 he is again invited back to the Chamber Music Festival in Verbier, Switzerland.

09/10 includes a.o. a Gala Concert in Geneva (Beethoven Triple Concerto with Vienna Symphony), as well as returns to the Stockholm Philharmonic (Kamu) and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Saraste), and Helsinki Philharmonic (Storgaards). In 2011 he will perform Dutilleux Cello Concerto with Stuttgart Philh.

Torleif Thedéen was appointed Professor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen in 1992. Since 1996 he is Professor at the Edsberg Music Institute in Stockholm.

He plays the ex-Lynn Harrel cello by David Techler from 1711.
Sept. 2009

Copenhagen Artists represents Torleif Thedéen in Denmark.

Sevak Avanesyan

After brilliantly finishing his studies with Medea Abrahamyan and Viviane Spanoghe, Sevak Avanesyan has been taught by such artists as Janos Starker, Maria Kliegel and Gary Hofmann. Since 2010, he is studying at the Hans Eisler Hochschule in Berlin, in the class of Claudio Bohorquez.

Sevak Avanesyan has performed all over the world, both as a soloist or chamber musician. He was a guest of, among others, the Salle Gaveau (Paris), the Sidney Opera House (Australia) and the Ford Hall in Toronto.He plays on a “Matteo Goffriller” cello, lent to him by Mischa Maisky

Robert Cohen

Following his Royal Festival Hall debut at the age of 12, Robert Cohen burst onto the international scene at the age of 19 with a recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto which earned a silver disc and placed him at the forefront of his musical generation. Subsequently he has consolidated an award-winning discography ranging from solo Bach, (and the Schubert Quintet with the Amadeus Quartet for DGG) to the concertos of Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Beamish and HK Gruber and a comprehensive British series for DECCA.

The creative give-and-take of the concert hall remains Cohen’s first love however. As a busy performing artist his career takes him to the USA, Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan and the UK. He has performed with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Maris Jansons, Riccardo Muti and Sir Simon Rattle and his enthusiasm for chamber music provides the bedrock of the Charleston Manor Festival, which he has directed since 1989.

Cohen’s passionate and articulate views on the art of learning, performing and communicating music have stimulated illuminating masterclasses and have been widely broadcast and published. He is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London and at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano.

In November 2009, Cohen gave the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s Cello Concerto No.2 ”The Song Gatherer. Co-commissioned by the Minnesota and Hallé Orchestras, the piece was specially written to mark Cohen’s 50th birthday. Osmo Vänskä conducted the Minneapolis first performance and Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé will give the UK premiere in December 2010.

Cohen has also recently launched two new ventures: ”Robert Cohen’s Cello Clinic” (www.celloclinic.com), is a unique personal service giving musicians access to in-depth, specialist diagnosis and resolution of physical and performing issues; Cohen Pod Talks, (www.cohenpodtalks.com) offers a ground breaking series of podcasts in which Cohen talks to leading figures in the arts, politics and business.

Cohen was recently invited by eminent film producer Don Boyd to become ‘Curator’ of a classical music channel of HiBrow.TV, a new arts based internet global website to be launched in Spring 2010.

As soloist, conductor, chamber musician and inspirational teacher, Robert Cohen’s music-making takes him all over the world; holding, as ‘The Guardian’ observed, audiences ”in the palm of his hand”.

He plays the ‘Ex Roser’ cello by David Tecchler. Rome 1723.

Raphael Wallfisch

”Always an extremely expressive cellist with a big tone, a fabulous technique, and a winning interpretation …”

Raphael Wallfisch was born in London in 1953 into a family of distinguished musicians, his mother the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, and his father the pianist Peter Wallfisch.

At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers, including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life’s work. While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky in California, he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetz in the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home.

At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Florence. Since then he has enjoyed a world-wide career playing with such orchestras as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Symphony, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and many others. He is regularly invited to play at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Spoleto, Prades, Oslo and Schleswig Holstein.

“… the great English cellist possesses a superb technique … a world star.”

Teaching is one of Raphael Wallfisch’s passions. He is in great demand as a teacher all over the world, and holds professorships in Switzerland at the Zürich Winterthur Konservatorium and in the UK at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.

His extensive discography of recordings with EMI, Chandos, Black Box, ASV, Naxos and Nimbus includes concertante works by Dohnanyi, Respighi, Barber, Hindemith and Martinu, as well as Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian and a wide range of British cello concertos, including works by MacMillan, Finzi, Delius, Bax, Bliss, Britten, Moeran and Kenneth Leighton. For the Chandos Walton Edition he recorded the Cello Concerto originally written for his master, Piatigorsky.

“Wallfisch was a superb soloist.”Britain’s leading composers have worked closely with Raphael Wallfisch, often writing works for him. These include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, John Metcalf, Paul Patterson, Robert Simpson, Robert Saxton, Roger Smalley, Giles Swayne, John Tavener and Adrian Williams.

Ralph Kirshbaum

Ralph Kirshbaum commands a distinguished position among the world’s foremost musicians. As ”one of the outstanding cellists of his generation” (The New York Times), he excels in a career which encompasses performances with the world’s leading symphony orchestras, solo recital appearances, chamber music collaborations, teaching and numerous recordings. In 1969, Mr. Kirshbaum catapulted to international attention when he won a top prize in the First International Cassado Competition in Florence. The following year, win a VI prize in the Fourth International Tchaikovsky Competition (1970), and was hailed by the Soviet newspaper Tass as ”a mature artist with a vivid and beautiful sound and impeccable technique.”

Mr. Kirshbaum made his American debut with a highly acclaimed recital at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Subsequently, he has appeared frequently as guest soloist with some of the finest orchestras in the United States, including the symphonies of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Pittsburgh. Of his performance of the Elgar Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Boston Globe declared ”his playing of this noble music of regret and farewell is subtle, intense, piercingly sad and absolutely spellbinding to hear.” Mr. Kirshbaum made his European orchestral debut with the New Philharmonia Orchestra of London and has since been in demand as recitalist and soloist throughout Europe, Asia and Australia. He has collaborated with many eminent conductors, including Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Colin Davis, Yuri Temirkanov, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Mazur, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, David Zinman and the late Sir Georg Solti. Mr. Kirshbaum has also performed with major European orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Halle Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Orquesta Nacional de España, Gürzenich Orchester of Köln, Orchestre de Paris, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Scottish National Orchestra, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, and the Royal Stockholm, Munich and Helsinki Philharmonics. Further afield, he has appeared with major orchestras in Australia, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, as well as opening the 2004-2005 season with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur.

Mr. Kirshbaum’s 2005-2006 season began last summer with appearances at the Santa Fe, Music@Menlo, Aspen, Verbier and Edinburgh International Music Festivals. Additional North American engagements include performances during the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s opening week with conductor Jacques Lacombe, concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Levine and a chamber music collaboration of string trios with violinist Robert McDuffie and violist Larry Dutton in New York, Portland and Atlanta. Additional European engagements include recitals in London and Manchester, as well as performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Stephane Deneve, and the Schumann concerto with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste. In December, Mr. Kirshbaum records the cello sonatas of Shostakovich and Prokofiev with pianist Peter Jablonski.

Highlights from recent seasons include a return to La Jolla Chamber Music Society’s SummerFest performing six concerts over two weeks, performances with the Seattle Symphony and the Royal Liverpool, Scottish Chamber and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras and the Collegium Musicum of Copenhagen. Mr. Kirshbaum annually performs in recital with longtime collaborator Peter Frankl. Recent North American engagements included Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the San Diego Symphony, Schumann’s Cello Concerto with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Dvo?ák’s Cello Concerto with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey and recitals in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Mr. Kirshbaum collaborated with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for a special all-Mendelssohn celebration and appeared in the inaugural concert of the Violoncello Society of London at Wigmore Hall in his capacity as honorary President.

Mr. Kirshbaum enjoys exploring the riches of chamber music and has collaborated with numerous musicians including Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Yefim Bronfman, Garrick Ohlsson and the Juilliard and Tokyo String Quartets. He enjoyed a long association with violinist György Pauk and pianist Peter Frankl, with whom for 30 years he performed and recorded the trio and sonata repertoire.

Mr. Kirshbaum’s interest and affinity for both English and 20th-century composers has allowed him to forge a prominent role in the contemporary music world as a leading exponent of the cello concertos of Walton, Elgar, Peter Maxwell Davies and Michael Tippett. His world-premiere recording of the Tippett Triple Concerto with György Pauk and Nobuko Imai, together with Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra was voted 1983 ”Record of the Year” by Gramophone magazine. Sir William Walton described Mr. Kirshbaum’s recording of his Cello Concerto, coupled with the Elgar, as ”excellent and moving; it is most heartening to hear a performance in which everything is just right.” Mr. Kirshbaum has recorded the Barber Cello Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the complete Bach Suites for solo cello, both for Virgin Classics. In October 1994, BMG Classics/RCA Victor Red Seal released a recording featuring Ralph Kirshbaum as soloist in the Haydn D-Major Cello Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra and conductor Pinchas Zukerman. He and Zukerman joined pianist John Browning, conductor Christoph Eschenbach and the London Symphony Orchestra in a recording of the Brahms Double and Beethoven Triple Concertos released by BMG Classics in 1998.

Mr. Kirshbaum has appeared in festivals ranging from Perth and Adelaide in Australia to Verbier, Lucerne and Ascona in Switzerland, with regular visits to Edinburgh, Bath, and the London Proms. In the United States he performs regularly at the Aspen, Santa Fe, La Jolla and Norfolk Chamber Music Festivals, and has been a featured soloist at Ravinia, Wolf Trap, the Hollywood Bowl, Grant Park, Chautauqua, Caramoor and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.

Mr. Kirshbaum is founder and Artistic Director of the RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival recognized as the most important of its kind and held triannually at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. The first festival took place in 1988 and brought together cellists from all over the world to celebrate the world of the cello, and to benefit the Pierre Fournier Award, which provides a London debut for a gifted young cellist. In May 2004, the 8th RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival, themed ”Finland and the Far East,” attracted 36 internationally acclaimed cellists from 16 countries, 40 international cello makers, and over five thousand cellists and enthusiasts from around the world. He is currently planning the 9th Festival for May 2007. Additionally, Mr. Kirshbaum continues to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A native Texan, Mr. Kirshbaum’s earliest training was in the home, where interest in music was paramount. His father was a violinist and conductor, and his mother a harpist. Mr. Kirshbaum’s aptitude for the cello was quickly evident and arrangements were made for study in Dallas with Lev Aronson. He later attended Yale University where he studied with Aldo Parisot and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with highest departmental honors in music. Ralph Kirshbaum is on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and his worldwide masterclasses and residencies are highly regarded among critics, colleagues and students alike. He makes his home in London with his wife Antoinette and son Alexander.

Ralph Kirshbaum plays a Montagnana cello which once belonged to the 19th-century virtuoso Piatti.

Pieter Wispelwey

Pieter Wispelwey is equally at ease on the modern or period cello. His acute stylistic awareness, combined with a truly original interpretation and a phenomenal technical mastery, has won the hearts of critics and public alike in repertoire ranging from JS Bach to Schnittke, Elliott Carter and works composed for him.

Born in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Wispelwey’s sophisticated musical personality is rooted in the training he received: from early years with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam to Paul Katz in the USA and William Pleeth in Great Britain.  In 1992 he became the first cellist ever to receive the Netherlands Music Prize, which is awarded to the most promising young musician in theNetherlands.

Highlights among recent and future concerto performances include engagements with the Philharmonia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Warsaw Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Beethovenorchester Bonn, Orchestre National d’Ile de France and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Last season Pieter undertook a major tour of Australia, focusing on the cello concertos dedicated to Rostropovich (Sydney Symphony, Queensland Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, and Canberra International Festival). He also gave the world premiere of the cello version of John Adams’ Dharma at Big Sur and was guest Music Director of the Australian Youth Orchestra Chamber music programme.

Future recital highlights include Vienna (Konzerthaus), Paris (Musee d’Orsay), London (Wigmore Hall), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Brussels (Flagey), San Francisco Performances, Tokyo (Toppan Hall, Kioi Hall), the Seoul Arts Center and extensive touring with the Bach solo cello suites in Europe and North America.

Pieter Wispelwey recently formed a string quartet, ‘quartet-lab’, with Patricia Kopatchinskaia, Pekka Kuusisto and Lilli Maijala. Quartet-lab’s debut project was at the Konzerthaus Dortmund in September 2012, followed by a European tour taking in Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie Luxembourg, the Helsinki Festival and Beethovenfest Bonn with further similar tours in the 13-14 season.

In 2012 Pieter Wispelwey celebrated his 50th birthday by embarking on a project showcasing the Bach Cello Suites. He recorded the complete Suites for the third time, released on the label ‘Evil Penguin Classics’. The box set also includes a DVD featuring illustrated debates on the interpretation of the Bach Suites with eminent Bach scholars Laurence Dreyfus and John Butt.

Wispelwey’s career spans five continents and he has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Boston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, St Paul’s Chamber Orchestra, NHK Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon, Tokyo Philharmonic, Sapporo Symphony, Sydney Symphony, London Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, Danish National Radio Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg.   Conductor collaborations include Ivan Fischer, Esa-Pekka Salonen, pieterwispelwey.com Blomstedt, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jeffrey Tate, Kent Nagano, Sir Neville Marriner, Philippe Herreweghe, Vassily Sinaisky, Vladimir Jurowski, Louis Langrée, Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman and Sir Roger Norrington.

With regular recital appearances in London (Wigmore Hall), Paris (Châtelet, Louvre), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw), Brussels (Bozar), Berlin (Konzerthaus), Milan (Societta del Quartetto), Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon), Sydney (The Utzon Room), Los Angeles (Walt Disney Hall) and New York (Lincoln Center), Wispelwey has established a reputation as one of the most charismatic recitalists on the circuitpieterwispelwey.com Pieter Wispelwey’s impressive discography of over 20 albums, available on Channel Classic, Onyx and Evil Penguin Classics, has attracted major international awards. Recent releases include Walton’s Cello Concerto (Sydney Symphony/Jeffrey Tate), Prokofiev’s Symphonie Concertante (Rotterdam Philharmonic/Vassily Sinaisky), Britten Cello Symphony (Flanders Symphony / Seikyo Kim) – all recorded live – as well as a unique set of works by Schubert for cello and piano (Fantasy D934, Grand Duo D574, Arpeggione Sonata), recorded on period instruments. His latest release sees him returning to the concerto repertoire and  features Lalo’s Cello Concerto and Saint-Saens’s http://pieterwispelwey.com/ Concerto No.2.

Pieter Wispelwey plays on a 1760 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini cello and a 1710 Rombouts baroque cello.


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