Pieter Wispelwey

Cello

  • Wispelwey’s playing is at once supremely lyrical and furiously intense.
    Tim Ashley, The Guardian
  • Deeply communicative and highly individual performances.
    James R. Oestreich, New York Times
  • Cello playing of incomparable technical and musical accomplishment.
    Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
  • Pieter Wispelwey is equally at ease on the modern or period cello. His acute stylistic awareness, combined with a truly original interpretation and a phenomenal technical mastery, has won the hearts of critics and public alike in repertoire ranging from JS Bach to Schnittke, Elliott Carter and works composed for him.

    Highlights of the 16-17 season include a play-direct project with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, a performance of the complete Bach suites at Auditorium de Lyon and the City Recital Hall in Sydney, performances of Tavener’s Svyati with the Flanders Radio Choir and two recitals at King’s Place in London as part of their ‘Cello Unwrapped’ season. Pieter will also give series of extraordinary recitals at the Melbourne Recital Centre as part their Great Performer Series, where he will perform the complete Bach Suites, Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano, and the two cello sonatas by Brahms over the course of three consecutive evenings.

    Born in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Wispelwey studied with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam and later with Paul Katz in the USA and William Pleeth in the UK. He plays on a 1760 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini cello and a 1710 Rombouts baroque cello.

    • Schubert - Brahms: The Complete Duos / Opus 100
      Evil Penguin Records Classics

      Wispelwey is a trailblazing virtuoso, opening up exciting repertoire directions and proving that a new guise for familiar repertoire can be entirely idiomatic. As an interpreter of Brahms, he integrates the lilting melodies and the more fervent writing with rigorous rhythmic underplay, dressed in well-nuanced phrases. Giacometti never obscures the cello and is a magician of balance and colour. In the F major Sonata, Wispelwey projects the heroic opening with tremendous authority, initiating the dialogue with the piano much in the manner of a play. Both players bring out the introspective poetry of Brahms’s melodic invention in the slow movement, whereas the ensuing Allegro appassionata grabs us by the collar. But all is well as the sunny finale restores equilibrium.
      Joanne Talbot, The Strad
    • Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante for Cello and Orchestra, Op 125
      Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

      Technically superb, Wispelwey's impressive variety of tonal options also negotiated the vast emotional upheavals of this work as it ranged from quiet contemplation, moments of sardonic humour, through to raging aggression.
      Martin Duffe, Sydney Morning Herald ****
    • Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo
      Evil Penguin Records Classics

      Wispelwey uses a Baroque cello with the strings tuned down a whole tone. It gives a deep grainy sound, but counteracting that is the fabulous springy liveliness of the playing. Wispelwey can certainly make these dances dance, but at the same time he gives each one a speaking eloquence. Like a master rhetorician, he fills Bach’s even procession of notes with meaningful pauses, emphatic emphases, pleading diminuendos, changes of tone. To add to the effect he often ventures to daring extremes of tempo, as in the slow and tragic Allemande of the Fifth Suite, or the startling contrast between the two Bourrées in the Fourth.
      Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph *****
      [Wispelwey] plays with deep affection and understanding. ... His bowing - often emulating the sound of the plucking of a lute - is masterful and always full of character.
      Julie Anne Sadie, Gramophone
    • Dvorak: Cello Concerto; Symphonic Variations for Orchestra
      Budapest Festival Orchestra

      Wispelwey’s playing is at once supremely lyrical and furiously intense.
      Tim Ashley, The Guardian
      Cello playing of incomparable technical and musical accomplishment.
      Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
    • Bach: Suites for Cello Solo
      Lincoln Center

      Deeply communicative and highly individual performances.
      James R. Oestreich, New York Times
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