Steven Isserlis

Biography

Born: December 19, 1958  
Steven John Isserlis is one of the leading internationally ranked cellists. He plays a wide range of repertory and is noted for using gut strings and a great deal of vibrato. He is the grandson of Russian composer and pianist Julius Isserlis and can trace his family tree back to connections with both Karl Marx and Felix Mendelssohn.

He spent most of his teenage years (1969-1976) as a pupil of Jane Cowan at the International Cello Centre.
Read more He describes her teaching method as both "total immersion" and "very holistic." For instance, she required the students to read Goethe's Faust in order to understand Beethoven better and memorize Racine to know the sound of the French language when playing French music. During his last two years at the Cello Centre he lived at her house in Scotland three times a year for eight-week stretches.

After finishing at the International Cello Centre, he went to study in the United States at Oberlin College in Ohio with Richard Kapuscinski (1976-1978). During this period, he made his debut in London in 1977. After graduation from Oberlin, he began to establish what has become one of the major cello careers. He has played with many of the leading orchestras and conductors in the world, including the London Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, and the London Philharmonic under such conductors as John Eliot Gardiner, Michael Tilson Thomas, Christoph Eschenbach, Roger Norrington, Colin Davis, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. He is also very active as a chamber player. In 1991, he founded a regular trio with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Olli Mustonen, and frequently gives recitals with pianist and fortepianist Melvin Tan. Other frequent partners have been Stephen Kovacevich, Tabea Zimmermann, Pamela Frank, and Stephen Hough.

He performs the major cello repertory from before Bach to current times. When he plays Classical- or Baroque-era works, he is likely to do so with "period instrument" ensembles. He uses his own cello (sometimes with a slight change in set-up) on such occasions rather than a Baroque cello. However, he often practices for such concerts with a Baroque or Classical bow to get an idea of the likely phrasing and articulation.

One of the most famous late twentieth century works for cello and orchestra, John Tavener's The Protecting Veil, was written for him, and he gave it its first performance in London in 1989 and its American debut in Boston in 1993. He also recorded its first release, on Virgin Classics, a recording that won a Grammophone Award. In 1992, he received the Piatigorsky Artist Award, and in 1993 got the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year Award. Other composers who have written new music for Isserlis include Elizabeth Maconchy, Howard Blake, and Robert Saxton. Isserlis has recorded the Elgar concerto, Britten's Cello Symphony, Bloch's Schelomo, and Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, which he played in the composer's original version, and received wide acclaim for them.

He was an exclusive artist on the Virgin Records label, going back to the days when it was a large independent company, and continued with it for several years after it was acquired by EMI. He now has an exclusive contract with BMG Classics with plans to release major contemporary cello works and standard works on the RCA Victor Red Seal label.

He has increased his teaching activities and gives master classes at the Manchester Cello Festival, and since 1996, when he succeeded Sandor Végh as artistic director of the International Musicians Seminar in Cornwall, England, he has taught and given master classes there annually. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 66 Available Recordings
1 2 3
  • 1.
    Martinu: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-3 / Steven Isserlis, Olli Mustonen
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2042 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu,  Jean Sibelius,  Olli Mustonen
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Olli Mustonen
    SuperAudio CD: $21.49
    Back Order
    MP3 Available
    SuperAudio CD:  $21.49 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 2.
    Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello & Piano / Steven Isserlis, Robert Levin
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67981 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Robert Levin
    Recommendation
    On sale! $45.98
    CD: $38.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $45.98   CD:  $38.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Julius Isserlis: Piano Music / Sam Haywood
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68025 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Julius Isserlis
    Performer:  Sam Haywood,  Steven Isserlis
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.98
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Musical Gifts / Joshua Bell & Friends
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 374318 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Walter Kent,  Jule Styne,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  Alison Krauss,  Chick Corea,  Frankie Moreno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Straight No Chaser,  Young People's Chorus of New York City
    CD: $14.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $10.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 5.
    Dvorak: Cello Concertos / Steven Isserlis
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67917 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.98
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    50 Best London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jeanne Loriod,  Simon Preston,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $11.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $11.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    In The Shadow Of War / Steven Isserlis
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1992 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest Bloch,  Frank Bridge,  Stephen Hough
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis
    Conductor:  Hugh Wolff,  Gábor Takács-Nagy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Tapiola Sinfonietta
    Recommendation
    SuperAudio CD: $21.49
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    SuperAudio CD:  $21.49 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 8.
    Britten: Orchestral Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 781602 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Robert Tear,  Peter Donohoe,  Peter [English Horn] Walden,  Wesley Warren  ... 
    Conductor:  Libor Pesek,  Simon Rattle,  Paavo Järvi,  Paavo Berglund  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Choir  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $39.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Mendelssohn Unknown - A Film by Angelo Bozzolini
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058858 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Roberto Prosseda,  Sonig Tchakerian,  Steven Isserlis
    Recommendation
    DVD: $24.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $24.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 10.
    Essential 20th Century Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234372 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Aram Khachaturian,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Cécile Ousset,  Peter Donohoe,  Stomu Yamashta  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Simon Rattle,  Yuri Temirkanov,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 11.
    Lieux Retrouves / Steven Isserlis, Thomas Ades
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67948 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Leos Janácek,  Gabriel Fauré,  György Kurtág  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Thomas Adčs
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.98
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    Russian Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2572 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Natalie Dessay,  Dmitri Alexeev,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi,  André Cluytens,  Armin Jordan,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6805342 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
    Back Order
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 14.
    Broken Branches - Compositions By Stephen Hough
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1952 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Hough
    Performer:  Marion Reinhard,  Michael Hasel,  Stephen Hough,  Jacques Imbrailo  ... 
    Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
    Recommendation
    CD: $21.49
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $21.49 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 15.
    The Rough Guide To Classical Composers: Bach (With Bonus Cd: Angela Hewitt Plays Bach)
    Label: Music Rough Guides   Catalog: 331241 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Angela Hewitt,  Johannette Zomer,  Thomas Schmogner
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman,  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Consort,  The Sixteen,  Purcell Quartet  ... 
    CD: $14.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 16.
    Franz Liszt - Master & Magician
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 775542 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 26
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Van Cliburn,  Byron Janis,  Philippe Entremont  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Wallenstein,  Eugene Ormandy,  Fritz Reiner,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale!
    CD: $28.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $29.98   CD:  $28.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    Best Cello 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31659 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Mathias Georg Monn,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Paul Tortelier,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Lynn Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Chamber Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 18.
    Brahms: Cello Sonatas;  Dvorak, Suk / Isserlis, Hough
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 30005 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák,  Josef Suk
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Stephen Hough
    Recommendation
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 19.
    Revisions - Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Bloch / Steven Isserlis
    Label: Bis (Swe)   Catalog: 1782 Release Date: 08/31/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Ernest Bloch
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis
    Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
    SuperAudio CD: $21.49
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    SuperAudio CD:  $21.49 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 20.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7704462 Release Date: 07/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Matthew Wilkie,  Martijin Blankestijn,  Douglas Boyd
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Import CD
    $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 21.
    50 Best Adagios
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57489 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Pachelbel,  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Giovanni Scaramuzzino,  Véronique Gens,  David Daniels,  Steven Isserlis  ... 
    Conductor:  Ian Watson,  Andrew Parrott,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Fabio Biondi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort,  Seminario Musicale  ... 
    CD: $11.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $11.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 22.
    Essential Cello
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 88582 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Luigi Boccherini  ... 
    Performer:  Han-Na Chang,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Steven Isserlis,  Maggie Cole  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Juha Kangas,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra members
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 23.
    Mendelssohn, The Nazis and Me - A film by Sheila Hayman
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4511 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Daniel Hope,  Asaf Levy
    DVD: $18.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $18.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 24.
    Nazis & Me / (Ntsc Uk)
    Label: Imports (Dvd)   Catalog: 1134715 Release Date: 12/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Steven Isserlis
    Recommendation
    On sale! $27.99
    Import DVD
    $25.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $27.99   DVD:  $25.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 25.
    The Best Of Joshua Bell
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001337202 Release Date: 09/22/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Gabriel Fauré,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Henri Wieniawski  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  Olli Mustonen,  Jacques Thibaud,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Peter Maag
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $14.99 Add MP3 to Cart

1 2 3