The distinguished career of Texas-born cellist Ralph Kirshbaum encompasses the worlds of solo performance, chamber music, recording and pedagogy, and places him in the highest echelon of today’s cellists.
Ralph Kirshbaum has appeared with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Boston, San Francisco and London Symphonies, the Israel Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich and the Orchestre de Paris. He has collaborated with many of the great conductors of the time, including Herbert Blomstedt, Andrew Davis, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, André Previn and Sir Simon Rattle. Ralph Kirshbaum has appeared frequently at such prominent international festivals as Edinburgh, Verbier, Music@Menlo and New York’s Mostly Mozart.
An unusual component of Ralph Kirshbaum’s distinguished legacy is the creation of cello festivals. He founded the RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival in 1988, the final iteration of which was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Music Award for Concert Series and Festivals in 2007. In 2012, he inaugurated the highly successful Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles, centered at the University of Southern California – Thornton School of Music.
Renowned for his pedagogy, Ralph Kirshbaum served on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for 38 years. In 2008, he accepted the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair in Violoncello at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he recently became Chair of the Strings Department. In July of 2016, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. He is Founder/Honorary President of the Pierre Fournier Award, as well as Honorary President of the London Cello Society, and continues to serve as Artistic Advisor of IMS Prussia Cove.
Having enjoyed a thirty-year collaboration with pianist Peter Frankl and violinist Gyorgy Pauk, Ralph Kirshbaum has appeared frequently in recent years with Pinchas Zukerman, Robert McDuffie, Lawrence Dutton, Peter Jablonski and pianist Shai Wosner. Other recent collaborators include Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang, Vadim Repin, and the Emerson and Takács String Quartets. The rare Montagnana cello that Ralph Kirshbaum plays once belonged to the 19th-century virtuoso Alfredo Piatti.