Raphael Wallfisch & Ishay Shaer

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Sunday, March 13th 2022 @ 7.30 pm

Programme

Beethoven - No. 3 Op. 69 in A  major
Debussy - Sonata in D minor
Schumann - Three Romances Op. 94
Brahms -  Sonata Op. 99 in F major 

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Raphael Wallfisch is one of the most celebrated cellists performing on the international stage. He was born in London into a family of distinguished musicians, his mother the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch and his father the pianist Peter Wallfisch.

At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life’s work. While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky in California, he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetz in the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home.

At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Florence. Since then he has enjoyed a world-wide career playing with such orchestras as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Symphony, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and many others.

He is regularly invited to play at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Spoleto, Prades, Oslo and Schleswig Holstein.  He is also frequently invited to be a jury member of international competitions such as the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris, the Schoenfeld in China and the Enescu in Romania.

Teaching is one of Raphael’s passions. He is in demand as a teacher all over the world and holds the position of professor of cello in Switzerland at the Zürich Hochschule der Kunst.

Raphael has recorded nearly every major work for his instrument. His extensive discography on EMI, Chandos, Black Box, ASV, Naxos and Nimbus explores both the mainstream concerto repertoire and countless lesser-known works by Dohnanyi, Respighi, Barber, Hindemith and Martinu, as well as Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian. He has recorded a wide range of British cello concertos, including works by MacMillan, Finzi, Delius, Bax, Bliss, Britten, Moeran and Kenneth Leighton. For the Chandos Walton Edition he was privileged to record the composer’s Cello Concerto, originally written for his master, Piatigorsky.

Britain’s leading composers have worked closely with Raphael, many having written works especially for him. These include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, John Metcalf, Paul Patterson, Robert Simpson, Robert Saxton, Roger Smalley, Giles Swayne, John Tavener and Adrian Williams.

Alongside his solo career, Raphael has a long-standing and distinguished duo with pianist John York. With a rich history of many international recital tours and numerous recordings, the duo celebrates its 39th anniversary in 2021 and look forward to future collaboration. Raphael also greatly enjoys touring with his very successful piano trio – Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch – which he and his colleagues Hagai Shaham (violin) and Arnon Erez (piano) founded in 2009. Four recordings have been released so far, each receiving the highest critical acclaim.

Raphael plays a 1760 Gennaro Gagliano, the 1733 Montagnana “Ex-Romberg” and an exquisite modern cello built for Raphael by Patrick Robin.

He lives in London with his wife, the violinist Elizabeth, and has three children, BenjaminSimon, and Joanna.

Ishay Shaer - having performed in numerous concerts throughout the world to great critical acclaim, Ishay Shaer is quickly becoming one of the leading pianists of his generation.

His performances include, among others, recitals at the Tonhalle Zurich, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, UK; Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Poland; deSingel, Belgium; Preston Bradley Hall in Chicago, USA; Sala Sinfonica Pablo Casals in Puerto Rico, Sala Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Teatro Solís, Uruguay.

Ishay Shaer has performed as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga, National Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt and the McGill Chamber Orchestra. In addiotion, He has taken part in musical events such as Montreal Bach Festival, Piano aux Jacobins, Gdansk Music Festival, Swansea Festival of Music and Arts, Dr Anton Philipszaal piano series and Kamermuziek Souvenir in Tilburg (Netherlands), Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima, Semanas Musicales de Frutillar, Fundación Beethoven (Chile), the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival and Israel Festival.

Throughout the years, Shaer has been supported by esteemed organizations, such as the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Swiss Orpheum Foundation, being included in its promotion programme for young soloists. He began piano studies at the age of 7 with Mrs. Hanna Barzilai and later studied with Dr. Asaf Zohar. He studied at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music of Tel Aviv University (in cooperation with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) with Prof. Tomer Lev and Prof. Arie Vardi, and finished his Bachelor's degree with distinction. He was also instructed by renowned artists, such as Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Murray Perahia and Matti Raekallio.

In November 2017, Shaer released an album dedicated to late works by Beethoven, with the British label Orchid Classics. The album has been played in prominent radio stations, including BBC Radio 3, France Musique and WQXR (New York), and was highly praised in music magazines such as the BBC Music Magazine and Codalario Magazine, where the critic wrote: "Fortunately for us, [Shaer] pursues the individuality of his sound and looks for his own interpretative lines … an interpreter attentive to details, who has a very careful sound and shows a wonderful understanding of the musical discourse ... This is an essential recording on the shelf of any music lover."

In recent years Ishay Shaer has established himself as a reputable chamber music performer. He has played with Mischa Maisky, Quirine Viersen, Liza Ferschtman, Antje Weithaas, Simone Lamsma, Carducci Quartet, Bennewitz Quartet, the RTÉ Contempo Quartet and Aviv Quartet. His arrangement for piano trio of Beethoven's 'The Tempest' piano sonata has garnered praise and was described as "an immeasurably pleasing masterwork… sounded like one of Beethoven's finest trios" by Haaretz newspaper.

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