Shriver Hall Concert Series: Steven Isserlis, cello & Connie Shih, piano
Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a uniquely varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. He appears with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, and gives recitals in major musical centers. As a chamber musician, he has curated concert series for many prestigious venues, including London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the Salzburg Festival. Unusually, he also directs chamber orchestras from the cello in classical programs.
With a strong interest in historical performance, Steven has worked with many period-instrument orchestras and has performed and recorded recitals with harpsichord and fortepiano. Also a keen exponent of contemporary music, he has given many premieres of new works, including Sir John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil and many other works, Thomas Adès’ Lieux retrouvés, three works for solo cello by György Kurtág, and pieces by Heinz Holliger and Jörg Widmann.
Steven’s extensive and award-winning discography includes J.S. Bach’s complete solo cello suites (Gramophone’s Instrumental Album of the Year), Brahms’ Double Concerto with Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and as director and soloist concertos by Haydn and C.P.E. Bach with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. His recording of works by John Taverner won the 2021 BBC Music Magazine Award.
Since 1997, Steven has been artistic director of the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He also enjoys playing for children, and has created three musical stories, with the composer Anne Dudley. His two books for children, published by Faber & Faber, have been translated into many languages; his latest book for Faber is a commentary on Schumann’s Advice for Young Musicians. His most recent book about the Bach Cello Suites was published in 2021. He has also devised and written two evenings of words and music, one describing the last years of Robert Schumann, the other devoted to Marcel Proust and his salons, and has presented many programs for radio, including documentaries about two of his heroes Robert Schumann and Harpo Marx.
The recipient of many awards, Steven’s honors include a CBE in recognition of his services to music, the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau, the Piatigorsky Prize and Maestro Foundation Genius Grant in the U.S, the Glashütte Award in Germany, the Gold Medal awarded by the Armenian Ministry of Culture, and the Wigmore Medal.
Steven plays the Marquis de Corberon’ Stradivarius of 1726, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music. His website is stevenisserlis.com.
The music world and music itselfis infinitely richer for the presence of Steven Isserlis. Gramophone Magazine
The Canadian pianist, Connie Shih, is repeatedly considered to be one of Canada’s most outstanding artists. In 1993 she was awarded the Sylva Gelber Award for most outstanding classical artist under age 30. At the age of nine, she made her orchestral debut with Mendelssohn’s first Piano Concerto with the Seattle Symphony. At the age of 12, she was the youngest ever protégé of György Sebők, and then continued her studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Claude Frank, himself a protégé of Arthur Schnabel. Later studies were undertaken with Fou Tsong in Europe.
As soloist, she has appeared extensively with orchestras throughout Canada, U.S., and Europe. In a solo recital setting, she has made countless appearances in Canada, U.S., Iceland, England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan and China. Connie has given chamber music performances with many world-renowned musicians. To critical acclaim, she appears regularly in concert with her duo partner, cellist Steven Isserlis worldwide. Including chamber music appearances at Wigmore and Carnegie halls, she performs at the prestigious Bath Music Festival, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Weill Hall (N.Y.), Verbier, Luzern and at the Kronberg Festival. Her collaborations have included Sir Simon Keenlyside, Joshua Bell, Maxim Vengerov, Tabea Zimmerman, Manuel Fischer-Dieskau and Isabelle Faust.
In 2021 Connie toured Asia, America, Europe and Australia with Steven Isserlis. With the cellist Manuel Fischer-Dieskau, she recorded the first-ever CD of the sonatas for piano and cello by Carl Reinecke and the complete Beethoven sonatas. In 2017 she released her first of her two CDs with Steven Isserlis on the BIS label, while this year will see the release of their first CD collaboration on Hyperion.
Connie’s performances are frequently broadcast via television and radio on CBC (Canada), BBC (U.K.), SWR, NDR, and WDR (Germany) as well as on other various television and radio stations in North America, Asia and Europe.
Connie was adjunct faculty at the Hochschule für Musik Mainz and presently at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. In addition she has given masterclasses at renowned music institutions and was on the faculty at the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy.