April 5, 2019
Classical Post Profiles Orli Shaham

Pianist Orli Shaham Continues Family Musical Traditions

Pianist Orli Shaham’s experiences, even from a very early age, have informed who she is as a pianist.

“I was born into a household where music was already being made by other people. That has translated very comfortably into the fact that I love playing chamber music and I love playing with orchestras because I am so connected to the idea of making music with somebody else,” Shaham said.

She also was lucky that the people who were making music in that household were masters of their art, as it meant it was easy for her to respect, appreciate and admire the talent of fellow musicians.

“First-rate Mozartean”

The Chicago Tribune has referred to Shaham as “a first-rate Mozartean”.

The inspiration for Shaham’s latest Mozart recording is music that has spoken to her and has driven her again and again throughout her career. She is finishing the final touches on a Mozart piano concertos recording with the St. Louis Symphony, David Robertson conducting. It will be released in spring 2019 on Canary Classics.

Shaham also has a passion for this project because she was able to make this disc with an orchestra that she loves and knows intimately, with a conductor that she knows and loves intimately—her husband.

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Musical Family

Music is still in the family for Shaham, as she is married to conductor David Robertson. Though it sounds cliché, Shaham feels happiness and a sense of accomplishment when she thinks of her family.

“My whole life, my children, and my marriage are definitely not only my most cherished accomplishments, but the parts of my life that give me the most joy,” she said.

Shaham is surprised to find that being really serious and dedicated to something like music is actually not that unusual for a career, and this is something she wants to reach eager, young musicians.

Shaham has an interactive concert series for young children, Baby Got Bach, which she founded in 2010 and is recognized by parents and the music community as a significant force in music education and entertainment for pre-schoolers. 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 Shaham as host and pianist. 

 “We can always be reaching more audiences, and reaching existing audiences with things that interest them again and again. Any kind of community engagement that allows more people to know that music exists, and that it exists for them, is useful,” she said.

To learn more about Shaham and her performances, visit her website.

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