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, with recent engagements including the Berlin Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic Orchestra and András Schiff, The Cleveland Orchestra with Ton Koopman, and the NHK Orchestra under Tadaadi Otaka. Every season he gives recitals in major musical centers, with pianists such as Stephen Hough, Olli Mustonen, Jeremy Denk, Kirill Gerstein and Dénes Várjon, and, unusually, directs chamber concerts from the cello.
Isserlis takes a strong interest in authentic performance and has played with many of the foremost period instrument orchestras. 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, Stephen Hough’s Sonata for Cello and Piano Left-hand, and works for solo cello by György Kurtág.
Writing and playing for children is another major interest. Steven Isserlis’ 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. As an educator Steven Isserlis gives frequent masterclasses all around the world. For the past 16 years he has been artistic director of the International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove in Cornwall.
The recipient of many honors, Isserlis was awarded a CBE in 1998 in recognition of his services to music, and in 2000, received the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau. In 2013, he was one of only two living cellists to be inducted into Gramophone’s Hall of Fame.
Isserlis gives most of his concerts on the Marquis de Corberon (Nelsova) Stradivarius of 1726, kindly loaned to him by the Royal Academy of Music.