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Biography
Piano, August 15


A consummate musician recognized for her grace, subtlety and vitality, Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today's most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics on four continents, Ms. Shaham is in demand for her prodigious skills and admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. The Chicago Tribune recently referred to her as “a first-rate Mozartean” in a performance with the Chicago Symphony, and London's Guardian said Ms. Shaham's playing was "perfection" during her recent Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Orli Shaham has performed with the Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Utah Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, Bilbao Symphony, Orchestra della Toscana, Orchestre National de Lyon, Taiwan Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Malaysian Philharmonic. A frequent guest at summer festivals, she has performed at Tanglewood, Ravinia, Verbier, Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Caramoor, Spoleto, Bravo Vail, Music Academy of the West, Orcas Island, Amelia Island and Peninsula music festivals, and appears for the second time with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony this summer.

Ms. Shaham has given recitals in North America, Europe and Asia at such renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, and the Herkulessaal in Munich, and has worked with many eminent conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, David Robertson, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano and Gerard Schwarz, among others.

Highlights of Orli Shaham’s international performance schedule in 2012-2013 include the east- and west-coast premieres of a piano concerto written for her by the acclaimed American composer Steven Mackey.  Her current season also features the opening concert of the National Philharmonic’s season conducted by Piotr Gajewski, Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with St. Louis Symphony and concerto appearances with the Pacific Symphony and other orchestras. Ms. Shaham’s recital program for the season includes works by Bolcom, Brahms and Mussorgsky, and a number of chamber recitals rounds out her performance season. She continues her role as curator and performer in the Pacific Symphony’s chamber music series in Costa Mesa, California. 

Ms. Shaham's recent highlights include her Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall, her debut with the Malaysian Philharmonic led by Claus Petr Flor and a special appearance at New York's Carnegie Hall where she performed Brahms F minor piano sonata and the F-A-E Sonata with violinist Gil Shaham.   Orli Shaham has returned to Australia frequently in recent seasons, where she has performed a wide variety of composers, including Mozart which she conducts from the keyboard.

Recordings released in 2012 include a CD of Hebrew Melodies (Canary Classics), recorded with her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham and a recording of the Brahms Horn Trio and Schubert’s lied Auf dem Strom (Albany) featuring the acclaimed principal French hornist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Richard King. The pianist Jon Kimura Parker joined forces with Ms. Shaham and the San Diego Symphony to record Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals (San Diego Symphony).   Orli and Gil Shaham have collaborated on several other recordings including Dvorák for Two (Deutsche Grammophon), and an all-Prokofiev disc, The Prokofiev Album on Canary Classics, ("As fine a recording of the violin and piano music of Prokofiev as has ever been made by one of the finest violinist and pianist teams of the last ten years." Barnes&Noble.com). Their recent recording, Mozart in Paris, features Mozart Violin Sonatas, Opus 1 and is available on CD from Canary Classics and as a Euroarts DVD.

Driven by a passion to bring classical music to new audiences, Orli Shaham maintains an active parallel career as a respected broadcaster, music writer and lecturer.  She is host of the public radio series America’s Music Festivals, a two-hour weekly program broadcast on more than 100 stations.  Her highly acclaimed (Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, NPR.org) classical concert series for young children, Baby Got Bach, is in its third season. The popular series continues in New York City where it is now presented by the 92nd Street Y, and has expanded to venues in St. Louis and Aspen. Designed for preschoolers, Baby Got Bach provides hands-on activities with musical instruments, and concepts and concert performances that promote good listening skills.  Her collaboration with Classical Public Radio Network as host of “Dial-a-Musician” featured over 60 fellow musicians, including composer John Adams, pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman and soprano Christine Brewer, who answered listener questions on the air via phone.  Ms. Shaham has served as artist in residence on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, has taught music literature at Columbia University, and contributed articles to Piano Today, Symphony and Playbill magazines and NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog.

Orli Shaham was recognized early for her prodigious talents. She received her first scholarship for musical study from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation at age five to study with Luisa Yoffe at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. By age seven, she traveled to New York with her family to begin study with Nancy Stessin, and became a scholarship student of Herbert Stessin at The Juilliard School a year later. She also won the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, two prestigious prizes given to further the development of outstanding talent. In addition to her musical education, Orli Shaham holds a degree in history from Columbia University. She lives in New York and St. Louis with her husband, conductor David Robertson, stepsons Peter and Jonathan, and kindergartner twins Nathan and Alex.


This biography was most recently edited by...
sunvalley - 1 Jul 2013
gailwein - 19 Nov 2009
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