Steven Isserlis

Steven Isserlis was born into music at a fairly early age. His whole family was musical - his father plays the violin, his mother played the piano, and his two sisters play the violin and viola - so he took up the cello because he didn't want to get left out. He soon decided that playing the cello was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life (partly because it meant that he wouldn't have to get up too early in the morning to get to work). These days, he travels all over the world, playing concerts to whoever wants to listen (and to a few who don't too) and making recordings. He studied in England, Scotland and America; his main teacher was a wonderfully eccentric lady called Jane Cowan, who convinced him that he had to become friends with the composers whose music he played. In 1998, he was awarded a CBE, for 'services to music'; and in 2000, the city of Zwickau (birthplace of the composer Robert Schumann, to whom a chapter in Why Beethoven Threw the Stew is devoted) bestowed the Schumann Prize 2000 upon his curly head. He lives in London, with his wife and son, lots of cellos and a piano. Find out more at Steven Isserlis's excellent website.

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