SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Steven Isserlis has an affinity for music, children and friendships. The internationally-acclaimed cellist will combine all of them at Hoff-Barthelson Music School’s annual benefit, recital and reception on Sunday, March 13.
Isserlis, a native of London recognized for his diverse repertoire and distinctive sound, will play at the benefit, scheduled for the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck. The concert begins at 6 p.m.
Isserlis agreed to play at the benefit concert for his longtime friend, Stephen Jacobsohn, Hoff-Barthelson’s Director of Development and Marketing. Isserlis is also the author of two highly-regarded children’s books , Why Beethoven Threw the Stew: And Lots More Stories about the Lives of Great Composers and Why Handel Waggled His Wig . Isserlis said he got interested in writing books because he wanted his son, Gabriel, to know about the great composers.
“I looked around for suitable books,’’ Isserlis said via email. “I could only find fiction. I have always found the lives of the great composers very funny, as well as fascinating.”
Isserlis’ first book was published in 2001 by Faber and Faber. His second book was published in 2006. Isserlis tried to capture the composers as people in both books.
“The message is that the great composers were wonderful, hilarious, unique beings,’’ Isserlis said. “And that they, as well as their music, can be your friends for life.”
Isserlis said he recently completed a book for young musicians, a translation of Schumann’s advice with his own extensive commentary and additions. “I wanted to introduce Gabriel to music,’’ Isserlis said. “Then I discovered that I enjoyed playing and writing for children. I love the ways they react to music. I’ve also written the words for three musical fairy stories with music by Anne Dudley. Those were fun to write.”
Isserlis is best known for his music. He performs as a soloist and with the great orchestras around the world and in chamber concerts with today’s greatest artists including violinist Joshua Bell. He has performed Beethoven with pianist Robert Levin in Boston and London. He is also a staunch advocate of lesser-known composers and of greater access to music for younger audiences.
He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1998. The award honors people for their contribution to the arts and sciences.
Isserlis’ mother was a piano teacher and his father an amateur musician. He studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is one of only two living cellists featured in Gramophone’s Hall of Fame.
“I can honestly say that my passion for music has grown over time,’’ Isserlis said. “I think it’s because as one lives through more, music becomes more important both as a solace and as an outlet.”
Isserlis said the concert for Hoff-Barthelson does not have an underlying message. “Just enjoy,’’ he said.
Tickets for the concert begin at $40 for students and $75 for adults. For more information, visit the Hoff-Barthelson website http://hbms.org/benefit.php.