Steven Isserlis takes a strong interest in authentic performance and has played with many of the foremost period instrument orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Simon Rattle, and Philharmonia Baroque with Nicholas McGegan. In 2010/11 he will tour with the Academy of Ancient Music and Richard Egarr. He is also a keen exponent of contemporary music, and has worked with many composers on new commissions since giving the world premiere of John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil at the BBC Proms in 1989. In 2006 he gave the world premičre of Wolfgang Rihm’s Cello Concerto at the Salzburg Festival, and at the 2009 Aldeburgh Festival he premiered Thomas Adčs’s new work for cello and piano, Lieux retrouvés, together with the composer.
Writing and playing for children is another major interest. Steven Isserlis’s books for children about the lives of the great composers – Why Beethoven Threw the Stew and its sequel, Why Handel Waggled his Wig – are published by Faber and Faber, and both books have been translated into many languages. He has recorded a CD for BIS with Stephen Hough entitled Children’s Cello, and with composer Anne Dudley he has written three musical stories for children which are published by Universal Edition. As an educator, Steven Isserlis gives frequent masterclasses all around the world, and for the past thirteen years he has been Artistic Director of the International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove in Cornwall.
With an award-winning discography, Steven Isserlis’s recordings reflect his diverse interests in repertoire. His recording of the complete Solo Cello Suites by Bach for Hyperion met with the highest critical acclaim, and was Gramophone magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Year and Critic’s Choice at the Classical Brits. Other recent releases include an all-Schumann disc for Hyperion with Denes Várjon, and a recording of works for cello and chamber orchestra entitled reVisions, for BIS.
The recipient of many honours, Steven Isserlis was awarded a CBE in 1998 in recognition of his services to music, and in 2000 he received the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau.
Steven Isserlis plays the Marquis de Corberon (Nelsova) Stradivarius of 1726, kindly loaned to him by the Royal Academy of Music.