Pieter Wispelwey is one of the first of a generation of performers equally adept on either the baroque or modern cello. His expert stylistic knowledge, original and profound musical thinking, augmented by a phenomenal technique, enable him to render individual, yet remarkable interpretations of the cello repertoire from J.S. Bach to Elliott Carter. For years now, he has won the hearts of critics and public alike with his unique performances of the Bach and Britten unaccompanied cello suites, and with his recitals of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas either on baroque or modern instruments.
Born in Haarlem, Netherlands, Wispelwey’s diverse musical personality is rooted in the training he received – from early years with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam to studies with Paul Katz in the USA and William Pleeth in Great Britain. In 1992 he was the first cellist ever to receive the Netherlands Music Prize, which is endowed upon the most promising young musician in the Netherlands.
Wispelwey is in keen demand as soloist. A typical review in Melbourne’s The Age reported: “To say Pieter Wispelwey’s music-making is ravishing is to utter an understatement of huge proportions. Monday’s concert did everything to confirm him as one of the world’s great cellists.” His career spans five continents with regular recital appearances in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London (Wigmore Hall), Paris (Châtelet), Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon) and New York (Lincoln Center). He has appeared as soloist with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Academica Salzburg and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Svizzera Italiana, Australian Chamber Orchestra and has recorded with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Highlights in recent seasons include a major tour of the Far East and Australia with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester under Herbert Blomstedt as well as recitals in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires.
Other engagements in the next two seasons include performances with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orquesta Nacional de España, Polish National Radio, Prague Symphony, Hallé Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Japan Philharmonic, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony, Stuttgart Philharmonic, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He will also return to the Edinburgh Festival and play a number of concerts in the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center, New York, following his successful debut at their Mostly Mozart Festival. In 2004 the Amsterdam Concertgebouw has invited him to be artist-in-residence in their summer series.
Pieter Wispelwey has made numerous recordings for the Channel Classics label, of which no less than six have won international awards. These include the Bach and Britten cello suites, the Dvorák and Elgar concertos, and much of the sonata repertoire. Of his disc of Shostakovich and Kodály (with the Australian Chamber Orchestra), Gramophone magazine wrote that Wispelwey is “a musician through and through, someone you can always trust to get the message right.” His most recent releases include a CD with cello repertoire by Franck, Schumann, and Brahms, and a recording of romantic cello repertoire with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie.