Orli Shaham, guest host

Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

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Orli Shaham joins From the Top as Guest Host for Shows 379/380 in Portland, Maine on November 20, 2019. Orli previously guest hosted Show 361, recorded at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine on October 17, 2018.

Meet Orli

A consummate musician recognized for her grace, subtlety and brilliance, Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today’s most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics on four continents, Ms. Shaham is in demand for her prodigious skills and admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. The New York Times called her a “brilliant pianist,” The Chicago Tribune referred to her as “a first-rate Mozartean” in a performance with the Chicago Symphony, and London’s Guardian said Ms. Shaham’s playing at the Proms was “perfection.”

Orli Shaham has performed with most of the major orchestras in the United States, and with many significant ensembles internationally, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.  A frequent guest at summer festivals, she has performed at Amelia Island, Aspen, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Bravo Vail, Caramoor, La Jolla, Mostly Mozart, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto, Tanglewood, and Verbier music festivals. Ms. Shaham has given recitals in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia at such renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Symphony Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, the Herkulessaal in Munich and City Recital Hall in Sydney.

Highlights of Ms. Shaham’s 2019-20 season include performances with the Rochester Philharmonic (David Danzmayr conducting), National Philharmonic (Piotr Gajewski conducting), and Marin Symphony (Alasdair Neale conducting), and a chamber recital at Chamber Music Fort Worth. She is in residence for a week at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, leading masterclasses and performing a chamber recital. Orli Shaham continues to serve as the Artistic Director for Pacific Symphony’s chamber music series in Costa Mesa, California, a position she has held since 2007. She is a featured performer on each of the chamber recitals throughout the series. And, in 2021, Ms. Shaham serves on the jury for the Cliburn International Piano Competition.

In 2019, Orli Shaham released a recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos K.453 and K.491 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson conducting (Canary Classics), which International Piano called, “an outstanding disc of Mozart piano concertos”. The recording is the first of a multi-year, multi-disc Mozart project for Ms. Shaham. Her discography also includes “Brahms Inspired” (2015), a 2-CD recital of works by Brahms and his compositional forefathers alongside works by Brett Dean, Avner Dorman, and Bruce Adolphe; “American Grace” (2014) featuring Steven Mackey’s Stumble to Grace (written especially for Ms. Shaham) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, David Robertson conducting. In 2013, Ms. Shaham and her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham recorded “Nigunim – Hebrew Melodies, featuring showpieces by Ernest Bloch, Joseph Achron, and Leo Zeitlin and a newly commissioned work by Avner Dorman. She and Gil Shaham have collaborated on several other recordings including “Dvorák for Two” on Deutsche Gramophone, an all-Prokofiev disc, and “Mozart in Paris” featuring Mozart’s Six Sonatas, Op. 1.

Founded in 2010, Orli Shaham’s interactive concert series for young children, ‘Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard’ (formerly ‘Baby Got Bach’) is recognized by parents, media and the music community as a significant force in music education and entertainment for children age pre-K to early elementary. The concert programs provide hands-on activities with musical instruments, concepts and concert performances that promote good listening skills, and feature chamber music performances by professional musicians with Ms. Shaham as host and pianist. Bach Yard is presented in New York, Princeton, and Rochester in 2019-2020.

Driven by a passion to bring classical music to new audiences, Ms. Shaham has maintained an active parallel career as a respected broadcaster, music writer and lecturer. In addition to stints as a guest host on NPR’s From the Top, she also served as the host of America’s Music Festivals in 2012 and 2013, a radio program nationally broadcast to over 100 stations. From 2005-2008 she was host of “Dial-a-Musician,” a feature she created especially for The Classical Public Radio Network. Ms. Shaham is on faculty at The Juilliard School, has taught music literature at Columbia University, contributed articles to Piano Today, Symphony and Playbill magazines and NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog, and was artist in residence on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”.

Orli Shaham was recognized early for her exceptional talents. She received her first scholarship for musical study from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation at age five to study with Luisa Yoffe at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. By age seven, she traveled to New York with her family to begin study with Nancy Stessin, and became a scholarship student of Herbert Stessin at The Juilliard School a year later. She won the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, two prestigious prizes given to further the development of outstanding talent. In addition to her musical education at the Juilliard School, Orli Shaham holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia University and pursued a master’s degree in musicology from Columbia. Orli Shaham is married to conductor David Robertson, and has two stepsons Peter and Jonathan, and twin sons Nathan and Alex.