Raphael Wallfisch, one of the greatest living cellists in the world, visits ArtSpring on Tuesday, December 3 for a concert of music by Bach, Brahms, Debussy and Stravinsky.
So what, you say. What makes him so special?
For starters, he has played with all the major orchestras in the world, and has recorded every known work for solo cello, with the exception of the Elgar Cello Concerto which he has so far avoided out of respect for the great Jacqueline du Pré, whose recording he considers unsurpassable.
Wallfisch was born in post-War Britain from parents who were both musicians, his mother Anita Lasker-Wallfisch having survived Auschwitz because she was a cellist, an experience she subsequently narrated in her book Inherit the Truth.
His parents kept this background from the young Raphael for quite a while so that he could approach music on its own terms, unaffected by the horrors that might otherwise cling to it in a child’s mind. He tells a charming story of one of his first memories:
“My parents used to put on a 78 of Janos Starker playing Kodaly’s Solo Sonata when I was a baby, so his recording started as a babysitting service and eventually became an instructive one.”
Wallfisch went on in due course to study in California with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky before launching his solo career at age 24 by winning the Caspar Cassando International Cello Competition in Florence in 1977.
Today he spends a significant part of his time teaching, with ongoing commitments at Zurich and Mainz. Last summer he spent a month at Cambridge teaching a number of the world’s best young cellists, including Rylan Gayek from Salt Spring.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to present an artist of such immense stature at ArtSpring,” says Executive Director George Sipos “We are fortunate that Mr. Wallfish will be performing with the Vancouver Symphony on November 30, so we were able to invite him to Salt Spring afterwards.”
Raphael Wallfisch will be accompanied by pianist Rena Sharon, herself a distinguished international performer and member of the UBC Faculty of Music.
Tickets for the 7:30 concert are available from the ArtSpring Ticket Centre 537-2102 or online at tickets.artspring.ca