Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

Ralph Kirshbaum


The distinguished career of Texas-born Ralph Kirshbaum—which encompasses the worlds of solo performance, chamber music, recording and pedagogy—launches him into “...the highest echelon of today’s cellists” (Los Angeles Times).

Kirshbaum has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras. He has been a frequent guest of the Dallas, Pittsburgh, Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras, the San Francisco and Houston symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also appeared with the BBC and London symphony orchestras; the London, Royal Stockholm, Helsinki and Israel philharmonic orchestras; the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich; and the Orchestre de Paris.

In honor of the legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, Kirshbaum leads the inaugural Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles in March 2012, an event presented by USC’s Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in partnership with The Colburn School and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Alongside his solo career, Kirshbaum is a renowned pedagogue. Currently he holds the Gregor Piatigorsky Endowed Chair in Violoncello at USC’s Thornton School of Music. He also served on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for 35 years and remains its International Chair of Cello.

His critically acclaimed recording of Bach Suites for EMI/Virgin Classics remains one of the finest available. Also noteworthy is his recording of the Brahms Double and Beethoven Triple concertos for BMG Classics with the London Symphony Orchestra. Of Kirshbaum’s recording of William Walton’s Concerto, the composer wrote, “It is most heartening to hear a performance in which everything is just right—it is excellent and moving.”

Now residing in Los Angeles, Kirshbaum maintains a great love of American football, tennis and Texan food. The rare Montagnana cello he plays once belonged to the 19th-century virtuoso Carlo Alfredo Piatti.

Ralph Kirshbaum

photo J. Henry Fair

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