Christian Steiner

2020-21 Season Biography

A consummate musician recognized for her grace, subtlety, and brilliance, Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today's most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics on four continents, Ms. Shaham admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. The New York Times called her a "brilliant pianist," The Chicago Tribune referred to her as “a first-rate Mozartean” in a performance with the Chicago Symphony, and London's Guardian said Ms. Shaham's playing at the Proms was "perfection."

Orli Shaham has performed with most of the major orchestras in the United States, and with many significant ensembles internationally, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A frequent guest at summer festivals, she has performed at Amelia Island, Aspen, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Bravo Vail, Caramoor, La Jolla, Mostly Mozart, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto, Tanglewood, and Verbier music festivals. Ms. Shaham has given recitals in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia at such renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Chicago's Symphony Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, the Herkulessaal in Munich and City Recital Hall in Sydney.

Ms. Shaham’s 2020-2021 season includes two solo recitals at Kaufman Music Center’s Merkin Hall, an appearance on the concert series “What Makes It Great” with Rob Kapilow, performances with the Grand Rapids Symphony (Marcelo Lehninger conducting) and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Jader Bignamini conducting), and appearances at the 2021 Bowdoin International Music Festival. She is in her 13th season as the Artistic Director for Pacific Symphony’s chamber music series in Costa Mesa, California, and is a featured performer on each of the chamber recitals throughout the series.

In October 2020, as part of her multi-year, multi-disc Mozart project on the Canary Classics label, Orli Shaham released the first of a five-volume set featuring the complete Mozart piano sonatas. Volumes 2 and 3 of this Mozart sonata cycle will be released in 2021. Ms. Shaham’s Mozart recording project began in 2019 with the release of piano concertos K.453 and K.491 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson conducting.

Her discography also includes “Brahms Inspired” (2015), a 2-CD recital of works by Brahms and his compositional forefathers alongside works by Brett Dean, Avner Dorman, and Bruce Adolphe; “American Grace” (2014) featuring Steven Mackey’s Stumble to Grace with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, David Robertson conducting. In 2013, Ms. Shaham and her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham recorded “Nigunim - Hebrew Melodies”, featuring showpieces by Ernest Bloch, Joseph Achron, and Leo Zeitlin and a newly commissioned work by Avner Dorman. She and Gil Shaham have collaborated on several other recordings including “Dvorák for Two” on Deutsche Gramophone, an all-Prokofiev disc, and “Mozart in Paris” featuring Mozart’s Six Sonatas, Op. 1.

Founded in 2010, Orli Shaham’s interactive concert series for young children, ‘Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard’ is recognized by parents, media and the music community as a significant force in music education and entertainment for children age pre-K to early elementary. The concert programs provide hands-on activities with musical instruments, concepts and concert performances that promote good listening skills, and feature chamber music performances by professional musicians with Ms. Shaham as host and pianist. During the spring and summer of 2020, Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard and Kaufman Music Center collaborated to create a 10-episode video series called “Playdates”.

Driven by a passion to bring classical music to new audiences, Ms. Shaham has maintained an active parallel career as a respected broadcaster, music writer and lecturer. In 2020, she was named as Regular Guest Host and Creative for NPR’s “From the Top”, the nationally broadcast radio program featuring performances and conversations with talented teenage musicians, after serving as guest host on several episodes in 2018 and 2019. She also served as the host of America’s Music Festivals in 2012 and 2013, a radio program nationally broadcast to over 100 stations. From 2005-2008 she was host of "Dial-a-Musician," a feature she created especially for The Classical Public Radio Network.

Ms. Shaham is on faculty at The Juilliard School, has taught music literature at Columbia University, contributed articles to Piano Today, Symphony, Musical America, Playbill, NPR’s ‘Deceptive Cadence’ blog, and was artist in residence on National Public Radio’s ‘Performance Today’. She serves as a juror on the Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2022, and the Honens International Piano Competition in 2021. She has previously served on the juries of the Cliburn International Junior, New York International, Sydney International, Virginia Waring International and Hilton Head International piano competitions.

Orli Shaham was recognized early for her exceptional 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 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 at the Juilliard School, Orli Shaham holds a bachelor's degree in history from Columbia University and pursued a master's degree in musicology from Columbia. Orli Shaham is married to conductor David Robertson, and has two stepsons Peter and Jonathan, and twin sons Nathan and Alex.



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