“Cello playing of incomparable technical and musical accomplishment.” (The Sunday Times )
“Wispelwey’s playing is at once supremely lyrical and furiously intense” (The Guardian)
"Wispelwey is one of the deepest of contemporary cellists” (American Record Guide)
“Deeply communicative and highly individual performances.” (New York Times)
“An outstanding cellist and a really wonderful musician” (Gramophone)
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.
Born in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Wispelwey’s sophisticated musical personality is rooted in the training he received: from early years with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam and later with Paul Katz in the USA and William Pleeth in the UK. In 1992 he became the first cellist ever to receive the Netherlands Music Prize, which is awarded to the most promising young musician in the Netherlands.
Recent performances and coming highlights include concerto performances with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Recital appearances include London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Brussels Flagey, San Francisco Performances, Toppan Hall Tokyo and the Seoul Arts Center.
Pieter Wispelwey enjoys chamber music collaborations and regular duo partners include pianists Paolo Giacometti, Cédric Tiberghien and Alasdair Beatson and appears as a guest artist with a number of string quartets including the Australian String Quartet. His own innovative ensemble ‘quartet-lab’ with Patricia Kopatchinskaia, Isabelle van Keulen and Lilli Maijala continues to present diverse programmes featuring standard repertoire alongside contemporary works, improvisation and experimentation.
Wispelwey’s career spans five continents and he has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Boston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, St Paul’s Chamber Orchestra, NHK Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon, Tokyo Philharmonic, Sapporo Symphony, Sydney Symphony, London Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, Danish National Radio Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg. Conductor collaborations include Ivan Fischer, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jeffrey Tate, Kent Nagano, Sir Neville Marriner, Philippe Herreweghe, Vassily Sinaisky, Vladimir Jurowski, Louis Langrée, Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman and Sir Roger Norrington.
With regular recital appearances in London (Wigmore Hall), Paris (Châtelet, Louvre), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw), Brussels (Bozar), Berlin (Konzerthaus), Milan (Societta del Quartetto), Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon), Sydney (The Utzon Room), Los Angeles (Walt Disney Hall) and New York (Lincoln Center), Wispelwey has established a reputation as one of the most charismatic recitalists on the circuit.
In 2012 Wispelwey celebrated his 50th birthday by embarking on a project showcasing the Bach Cello Suites. He recorded the complete Suites for the thirdtime, released on the label ‘Evil Penguin Classics’. The box set also includes a DVD featuring illustrated debates on the interpretation of the Bach Suites with eminent Bach scholars Laurence Dreyfus and John Butt. A major strand of his recital performances is his performances of the complete suites during the course of one evening, an accomplishment that has attracted major critical acclaim throughout Europe and the US. “On paper it is a feat requiring brilliance, stamina and perhaps a bit of hubris. In practice Mr. Wispelwey proved himself impressively up to the challenge, offering performances as eloquent as they were provocative” ( New York Times).
Pieter Wispelwey’s impressive discography about 30 albums, available on Channel Classic, Onyx and Evil Penguin Classics, has attracted major international awards. His most recent concerto release features the C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto in A major with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, whilst he is also midway through an imaginative project to record the complete duo repertoire of Schubert and Brahms. Other recent releases include Lalo’s Cello Concerto, Saint-Saen’s Concerto no.2 and the Britten Cello Symphony with Seikyo Kim and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Walton’s Cello Concerto (Sydney Symphony/Jeffrey Tate), Prokofiev’s Symphonie Concertante (Rotterdam Philharmonic/Vassily Sinaisky.
Pieter Wispelwey plays on a 1760 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini cello and a 1710 Rombouts baroque cello.