click photo to enlarge Mischa Maisky cellist

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Mischa Maisky was born in Riga in 1948. He studied briefly at the Riga Conservatory, then in Leningrad where at the age of 17 he won the national cello competition. A year later, in 1966, he won a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and commenced studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory; at the same time, he began pursuing an active concert career throughout the Soviet Union.

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Following a period of harassment by Soviet authorities, Maisky emigrated in 1972 to Israel, where his sister had settled several years before, and now lives in Belgium. In 1973, he won the Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition in Florence, and later that year made his debut at New York's Carnegie Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under William Steinberg. After this concert, an anonymous admirer gave Maisky a Montagnana cello from the 18th century - the instrument he still uses today. In 1974, Mischa Maisky studied for several months with Gregor Piatigorsky, thus becoming the great master's last student and the only other person ever to have studied with both Piatigorsky and Rostropovich.

Since then Mischa Maisky has been enthusiastically received in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Tokyo along with the rest of the major musical centres of the world. In 1995 he returned to Moscow after a 23 year absence to give a concert and to record with the Russian National Orchestra and Mikhail Pletnev. In 2000 he celebrated the Bach aniversary year with a marathon tour covering several continents, including special events in major centres (including London’s South Bank Centre) playing all 6 solo suites and the 3 piano and cello sonatas in one day. DG also released a re-interpretation of the solo suites, following the huge success of his original recording. Truly a world class musician, he has had partnerships with artists such as Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Gidon Kremer, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim and Giuseppe Sinopoli, to name just a few.

Newsletter/Autumn 2000:
Record Shelf

Newsletter/Autumn 2000:
International Chamber Music Season at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Newsletter/Spring 2000:
Mischa Maisky's worldwide Bach pilgrimage

Newsletter/Spring 1999:
Cello Magic

Following his recording of the Brahms Double Concerto with Gidon Kremer and the Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, in 1985 Mischa Maisky became exclusive to Deutsche Grammophon, winning much acclaim and three Tokyo Academy Awards for his many recordings which include: two recordings of the Bach solo cello suites (Grand Prix du Disque), sonatas by Bach and Beethoven with Martha Argerich, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky Trios with Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich, and four discs of encore favourites, featuring Maisky's own transcriptions of songs by Brahms, Schubert and French composers. His concerto recordings have included the Schumann Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernstein, the Dvorak Concerto and Bloch's Schelemo with the Israel Philharmonic, also with Bernstein, Haydn with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Elgar and Tchaikovsky with the Philharmonia and Sinopoli, Shostakovich with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas, Vivaldi, Boccherini,Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Saint-Saens with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Prokofiev and Miaskovsky with Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra. In the past year DG have released his recording of the Mendelssohn sonatas with Sergio Tiempo and a live recital disc with Martha Argerich (Chopin, Debussy, Franck).

August 2002

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This was certainly one of the most intense and demanding performances the work has received in London for some time…In Maisky’s hands, the central movement was far more than the scherzo-like episode which it can seem. This was a true Allegro appassionato.
Royal Philharmonic, Walton Concerto

A commanding performance…one could have heard a pin drop as Maisky delivered the demanding and structurally crucial cadenza .
London Symphony, Shostakovich

Maisky’s delivery of the solo part was remarkable for its concentration, carrying power and fearless virtuosity.
Philharmonia, Elgar

Hugely impressive.
BBC Philharmonic, Hindemith

His tone is severely fine and precise, his phrasing scrupulously balanced and he speaks with a tight, brave elegance that derives from passion being exerted without waste.
In recital with Martha Argerich

No-one matches his soul-searching in Shostakovich Cello Concerto no.2, nor the vocal qualities in his performance of Schubert’s Arpeggione.
"Virtuoso cellists" (Classic CD)

Maisky’s tone is veiled and gentle, and his phrasing affectingly poetic…Maisky holds the line with great skill…The second movement is conversational and lightly pointed, with a tripping second set, and I loved the way the cello races ahead into the finale, beckoning the pianist to respond.
Brahms E minor Sonata/Pavel Gililov (Gramophone)

Maisky’s account of "The Swan" is arresting: where most cellists give it ample tone and warm expressiveness, he plays it rather slowly and very quietly indeed. It’s magical, and typical of his way of drawing more from less.
Saint-Saens (Classic CD)

How marvellously he mirrors the qualities of the voice for his voice, that of the cello, is ever present.
Schubert Lieder arr Maisky (Classic CD)

What was once big-boned and lavishly emphatic is now gentler and infinitely more witty…This is what re-recording should be all about.
Bach Solo Suites – 2nd recording on DG (Independent)

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