ORLI SHAHAM, piano
2019-2020 Season Biography
2019-20 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 is in demand for her
prodigious skills and 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 the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Atlanta,
Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Nashville,
Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Utah symphony
orchestras; and internationally with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bilbao Symphony,
Filarmonica della Scala, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic,
Orchestra della Toscana, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon,
Stockholm Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Taiwan Philharmonic. 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, Orcas Island, Peninsula, Ravinia, Spoleto, Sun Valley,
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, and has worked with many eminent conductors
including Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, David
Robertson, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Jaap Van Zweden,
Gerard Schwarz, Nicholas McGegan, Hans Graf and Jacques Lacombe among others.
In performance she has collaborated with the pianists Emanuel Ax, Joseph Kalichstein,
Jon Kimura Parker and Marc-Andre Hamelin, the cellist Lynn Harrell, the violinists Gil
Shaham (her brother) and Phillip Setzer, and the sopranos Christine Brewer and
Michelle DeYoung, among many others.
Highlights of Ms. Shaham’s 2019-20 season include performances with the Rochester
Philharmonic (David Danzmayr conducting), Marin Symphony (Alasdair Neale
conducting), Grand Rapids Symphony (Marcelo Lehninger conducting), and a chamber
recital at Chamber Music Ft. Worth. She continues to serve as the Artistic Director for
Pacific Symphony’s chamber music series in Costa Mesa, California, a position she has
held since 2007. She is a featured performer on each of the chamber recitals
throughout the series.
In 2019, Orli Shaham released a recording on the Canary Classics label of Mozart’s
piano concertos K.453 and K.491 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, David
Robertson conducting. “Orli Shaham and David Robertson are at-one interpretatively
and the SLSO members are stylish and sympathetic confreres,” acclaimed Colin
Anderson of Classical Source who also selected the album as “The Editor’s Choice”.
The recording is the first of a multi-year, multi-disc Mozart project.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth over the 2017-18 and
2018-19 seasons, Ms. Shaham joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Michael
Francis conducting), Orlando Philharmonic (Eric Jacobsen conducting), China NCPA
Orchestra (David Robertson conducting), Bochumer Symphoniker (Steven Sloane
conducting), Dallas Symphony Orchestra (David Robertson conducting), and San Diego
Symphony (Steven Sloane conducting) for performances of Bernstein’s Symphony No.2 Age of Anxiety.
Other highlights from the 2018-19 season include performances with the Austin
Symphony Orchestra (Peter Bay conducting), Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (Joshua
Weilerstein conducting), Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, John Adams’ Grand Pianola
Music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (conducted by the composer),a chamber
music recital at the 2018 Aspen Music Festival, and the world premiere and subsequent performances of the complete John’s Book of Alleged Dances by John Adams in a transcription for prepared piano and string quartet by Simon Frisch commissioned by Ms. Shaham.
In addition to her recording of Mozart concertos, Ms. Shaham’s discography includes
her acclaimed album, “Brahms Inspired”, a 2-CD set released in 2015 of new works by
Brett Dean, Avner Dorman, and Bruce Adolphe alongside works of Brahms and his
compositional forefathers. The New York Times praised Ms. Shaham’s “beautiful
performances” on the recording, calling it “a treasurable album.” The St. Louis PostDispatch stated that the album “takes the listener on an intellectual as well as a musical journey” and cited Ms. Shaham’s “musical intelligence and integrity.”
Ms. Shaham’s other recordings include her performance of John Adams’ Grand Pianola
Music with the pianist Marc-André Hamelin and the San Francisco Symphony, with the
composer conducting, featured on the SFSO album “Absolute Jest”. Arts Desk’s
Graham Rickson raves,“Pianists Orli Shaham and Marc-André Hamelin dazzle…” In
2014, Orli Shaham released “American Grace”, a CD of piano music by John Adams
and Steven Mackey featuring the recorded premiere of Mackey’s Stumble to Grace
(written especially for Ms. Shaham) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, David
Robertson conducting. Brian Wigman of Classical.net praised the album as having
“nuance to the playing, and a sense of grace and poetry.” Composer John Adams
himself wrote of Ms. Shaham’s collaboration with Jon Kimura (Jackie) Parker on his
two-piano work Hallelujah Junction, “any composer should be so lucky to receive such a reading as Orli and Jackie have done,” and the French magazine Pianiste praised the
CD, saying “this album could well propel [Shaham] to the forefront of the world stage.”
The previous year, Ms. Shaham released the CD “Nigunim – Hebrew Melodies”,
recorded with her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham. The album features showpieces by
Ernest Bloch, Joseph Achron, and Leo Zeitlin as well as a newly commissioned work by
Avner Dorman. She and Gil Shaham have collaborated on several additional recordings
including “Dvorák for Two” on Deutsche Gramophone, an all-Prokofiev disc (“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), and
“Mozart in Paris” featuring Mozart’s Six Sonatas, Op. 1.
Founded in 2010, Orli Shaham’s interactive concert series for young children, formerly
known as Baby Got Bach, begins the 2019-20 season with a new name and an
expanded age range. ‘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 wildly popular series is included in New
York Magazine’s “Best of New York” list, and has been cited as “magical” and “a terrific
family event” in the press. 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. Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard (formerly Baby Got Bach) has
been presented by the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Aspen Music Festival, and in Los
Angeles and St. Louis. Following the collaborations with Sō Percussion in 2016,
WindSync in 2017, the Rolston String Quartet in 2018, and the Westerlies in 2019, Bach Yard performs programs at Merkin Hall and returns to Richardson Auditorium at
Princeton University in the 2019/20 season, both with special guest performers from
In addition to her activities on stage, Ms. Shaham frequently gives master classes and
has served on the jury of numerous piano competitions, including the Cliburn
International Junior, New York International, Sydney International, and Virginia Waring
International piano competitions. Committed to music education, Orli Shaham serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Kaufman Music Center and as the Chair of The Advisory Board to the Lucy Moses School, New York’s largest Community Music
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. The concept of the program was to enhance listeners’
experiences of music and musicians by directing listeners’ questions about classical
music to internationally renowned musicians, calling them on the phone to discuss the
Ms. Shaham is on faculty at The Juilliard School, has taught music literature at
Columbia University, contributed articles to Piano Today, Symphony and Playbill
magazines and NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog, and was artist in residence on National
Public Radio’s Performance Today.
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.
OrliShaham is married to conductor David Robertson, and has two stepsons Peter and
Jonathan, and twin sons Nathan and Alex.
Orli Shaham has been a Steinway Artist since 2003.
Join the Berkshire Bach Society in a very special fundraiser with Orli Shaham on Saturday, August 29, 2020, at 3pm, in a private home in Hillsdale, NY.
By Advance Reservations Only | Contact Berkshire Bach