Steven Isserlis

On tour in South America with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra: August 2024

Graceful, exquisite, deeply felt play

Celebrated worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis has a unique career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. He performs with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors and gives recitals in major music centers. As a chamber musician, he has curated concert series for many prestigious venues, including London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd St Y, and the Salzburg Festival. Unusually, he also conducts chamber orchestras from the cello in classical programs.


He has a strong interest in period performances, collaborating with many orchestras with period instruments and giving recitals with harpsichord and fortepiano. He is also an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music and has premiered many new works, including The Protecting Veil by Sir John Tavener and many others, Lieux retrouvés by Thomas Adès, three works for solo cello by György Kurtág, and pieces by Heinz Holliger and Jörg Widmann.

Steven’s extensive discography includes the complete solo cello suites of J. S. Bach (Gramophone’s Instrumental Album of the Year), Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano, concertos by C. P. E. Bach and Haydn, the concertos by Elgar and Walton, and the Brahms Double Concerto with Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

Since 1997 Steven has been artistic director of the International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He also enjoys playing for children and has co-written three musical stories with composer Anne Dudley. His two children’s books published by Faber & Faber have been translated into many languages; his most recent book for Faber is a commentary on Schumann’s Advice for Young Musicians, and a book on the Bach Suites was published in 2021. He has also conceived and written two evenings of words and music, one describing the last years of Robert Schumann and the other devoted to Marcel Proust and his salons. He has hosted numerous programs for radio, including documentaries on two of his heroes – Robert Schumann and Harpo Marx.

Steven has been awarded numerous prizes, including a CBE in recognition of his services to music, the Schumann Prize of the city of Zwickau, the Piatigorsky Prize and the Genius Grant of the Maestro Foundation in the USA, the Glashütte Prize in Germany, the Gold Medal of the Armenian Ministry of Culture, and the Wigmore Medal.

Steven plays the Stradivarius “Marquis de Corberon” from 1726, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music.

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