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Steven Isserlis



Steven Isserlis is a cellist whose passion for music transcends conventional divisions. Acclaimed worldwide for his musicality and technique alike, he is equally at home drawing the audience into his circle of friends for chamber music or in recital; delving into the historical archives to emerge with a forgotten gem; or on the concert platform with some of the world's most prestigious orchestras and conductors.

Recent concerto engagements have taken British-born Isserlis to some of the world's greatest orchestras, including most recently the Boston, Dallas and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Philadelphia and Philharmonia Orchestras. He also enjoys regular collaborations with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sakari Oramo, Sir Colin Davis, Ton Koopman and Christoph Eschenbach. Isserlis's interest in period instruments has led to performances with original instrument orchestras such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood and L'Orchestre des ChampsElysées under Philippe Herrweghe. Last season he performed all Beethoven's works for cello with fortepianist Robert Levin in Boston.

The chamber concerts of Isserlis' devising are renowned, not only for the quality of performance, but also for his ingenuity and innovation in programming. Projects in the past few seasons have included a Taneyev and Friends series at the Wigmore Hall, a Brahms series at the Salzburg Festival, a festival entitled Sleeping Beauties with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and music by Brahms, Dvořák and Frühling in London, Berlin and Vienna. In Spring 2004, Isserlis was Artistic Director of a highly-acclaimed festival in London dedicated to the music of Saint-Saëns, which took place at the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Academy of Music and with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican Centre.

Isserlis also regularly gives recitals; his performances this season include recitals with Stephen Hough in the UK, Dublin, Belgrade and Milan and solo Bach recitals in Bath and Madrid. He also gives a recital entitled Schubert's Vienna with Denes Varjon at the Wigmore Hall, where later in the season he plays chamber music by Schubert with Joshua Bell and others. With Ana-Maria Vera, he gives his New York recital debut, for the Distinguished Artists in Recital series at the 92nd St Y.

Steven Isserlis is a keen exponent of contemporary music. He has had a long collaboration with Sir John Tavener, whose work for cello and orchestra The Protecting Veil was written for and first recorded by Isserlis. Other composers who have recently written concertos for him include David Matthews and Carl Vine, and many future commissions are being planned.

With an award-winning discography, Isserlis' recordings reflect his diverse interests in repertoire. His most recent releases are of Strauss's Don Quixote with the Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, and of Rachmaninov and Franck sonatas with Stephen Hough. Two more recordings with Stephen Hough are to be released during the current season: the Brahms sonatas, coupled with works by Dvořák and Suk, for Hyperion Records; and a disc of children's cello music for BIS Records. The author of the sleeve notes for most of his recordings, Isserlis enjoys writing, and is a regular contributor to leading newspapers and journals. His children's history of the lives of six great composers Why Beethoven Threw the Stew was published by Faber