The distinguished career of Texas-born cellist RALPH KIRSHBAUM - which encompasses the worlds of solo performance, chamber music, recording, and pedagogy - clearly places him in "...the highest echelon of today's cellists" (Los Angeles Times). He enjoys the affection and respect not only of audiences worldwide, but also of his many eminent colleagues and students.
In the span of an eventful career, Ralph Kirshbaum has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras in North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa, and the Far East. He has been a frequent guest of the Boston and Chicago Symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Dallas Symphonies in the United States. In Europe he has appeared with the BBC and London Symphony Orchestras, as well as the London, Stockholm, and Helsinki Philharmonics, Zurich Tonhalle, Orchestre de Paris, and the Israel Philharmonic. He has enjoyed collaborations with such esteemed conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Colin Davis, Andrew Davis, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, and the late Sir Georg Solti.
Ralph Kirshbaum began the summer of 2011 by participating as juror for the prestigious XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Following performances in summer festivals throughout the US, he returns to his native Tyler, Texas, in September to open a new concert hall with a gala recital; the autumn features further recitals in New York and London. Orchestral concerts this season include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the symphonies of Spokane, Albany, and Southwest Florida.
In honor of the legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, Kirshbaum leads the inaugural Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles - an event presented by the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in partnership with the Colburn School and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He has built upon the model of the internationally acclaimed Manchester Festival he founded in 1988 and directed through to its conclusion in 2007. Twenty outstanding artists, representing ten countries, are converging on Los Angeles for ten days to share their artistry and teaching experience through orchestral concerts, chamber music performances, master classes, and interactive events.
Ralph Kirshbaum is a regular guest at prominent international festivals such as Edinburgh, Bath, Verbier, Lucerne, Ravinia, Aspen, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Music@Menlo, and New York's Mostly Mozart. His active chamber music schedule regularly includes projects with long-time colleagues and friends. In addition to frequent string trio tours with violinist Robert McDuffie and violist Lawrence Dutton, he enjoys collaborations with pianists Peter Frankl, Shai Wosner, and Peter Jablonski. In recent years he has performed with illustrious colleagues including Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, Joshua Bell, Vadim Repin, Lang Lang, Leif Ove Andsnes, and Yefim Bronfman.
Alongside his solo career, Mr. Kirshbaum is a renowned pedagogue who has influenced generations of young cellists as a committed and impassioned mentor. He served on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for 35 years and remains International Chair of Cello. Currently he holds the Gregor Piatigorsky Endowed Chair in Violoncello at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. He participates annually in seminars at Prussia Cove, where he is Artistic Advisor, and the London Masterclasses, and is sought after for master classes throughout the world. The rare Montagnana cello that Ralph Kirshbaum plays once belonged to the 19th-century virtuoso, Piatti.