Steven Isserlis, cello

British cellist Steven Isserlis CBE enjoys an international career as a soloist, chamber musician, author, educator, and broadcaster. Equally at home in music from baroque to the present day, he performs with the world’s greatest orchestras, including period ensembles, and has given many world premieres, including Sir John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, Thomas Adès’s Lieux retrouvés, four works for solo cello by György Kurtág, and pieces by Heinz Holliger, Jörg Widmann, Olli Mustonen, Mikhail Pletnev and many others.

His vast award-winning discography includes most of the cello repertoire, including the JS Bach suites (Gramophone Instrumental Album of the Year), Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano, and the Brahms double concerto with Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He has received two Grammy nominations, for his recordings of Haydn’s cello concertos, and Martinů’s cello sonatas with Olli Mustonen. Premiere recordings include late works by Sir John Tavener (BBC Music magazine Premiere Award). His latest recording, A Golden Cello Decade 1878 – 1888, was released in November 2022.

As an author, his latest book is a critically-acclaimed companion to the Bach cello suites, while his two books for children about music are among the genre’s most popular ever written and have been translated into many languages. He has also authored a commentary on Schumann’s famous Advice for Young Musicians. As a broadcaster, he has written and presented two in-depth documentaries for BBC Radio, on Robert Schumann and Harpo Marx.

An insightful musical explorer and curator, he has programmed imaginative series for London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd St Y, and the Salzburg Festival. Unusually, he also directs orchestras from the cello, including Luzerner Sinfonieorchester in 2019 with Radu Lupu in his final public performance.

He was awarded a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, in recognition of his services to music. International recognition includes the Piatigorsky Prize (USA) and the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award (Germany). Since 1997, he has been Artistic Director of the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove, Cornwall.

He plays the 1726 ‘Marquis de Corberon’ Stradivarius, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music.