Skip to page content

Ralph Kirshbaum

About this Artist

The distinguished career of Texas-born cellist Ralph Kirshbaum encompasses the worlds of solo performance, chamber music, recording and pedagogy and places him in the highest echelon of today’s cellists. He has appeared with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra; the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco Symphony Orchestras; and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philharmonia, Zurich Tonhalle, Orchestre de Paris and Israel Philharmonic. He has collaborated with many of the great conductors of the time including Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Colin Davis, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, and Sir Georg Solti.

A renowned pedagogue, Kirshbaum served on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for 38 years.  In 2008, he accepted the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair in Violoncello at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he also serves as  Chair of the Strings Department. In July of 2016, Kirshbaum received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. He is Founder/Honorary President of the Pierre Fournier Award, as well as Honorary President of the London Cello Society, and continues to serve as Artistic Advisor of IMS Prussia Cove.  Kirshbaum previously served a five-year term on the United States President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In 2012, Kirshbaum inaugurated the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles, centered at the University of Southern California - Thornton School of Music. The highly successful Festival returns to Los Angeles in March 2020, and again brings together the world's foremost cellists and rising young artists in a 10-day festival of great distinction.

Having enjoyed a thirty-year collaboration with pianist Peter Frankl and violinist Gyorgy Pauk, Kirshbaum has appeared frequently in recent years with Pinchas Zukerman, Robert McDuffie, Lawrence Dutton, Peter Jablonski, and pianist Shai Wosner. Other recent collaborators include Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Midori, Lang Lang, Vadim Repin, Joseph Swensen, and the Emerson and Takács String Quartets.  With an extensive discography which includes recordings on the EMI/Virgin Classics, Hyperion, Onyx Classics, and Virgin Classics labels among others, Kirshbaum is noted for his recordings of the Bach Cello Suites, the complete cello sonatas and variations of Beethoven with Shai Wosner, the Barber concerto and sonata, the Elgar and Walton concertos, and the Brahms Double and Beethoven Triple Concertos with Pinchas Zukerman and John Browning.