"Isserlis on cello with his head up to the sky is very focused, inspired and inspiring. He is very expressive at times with his instrument that is one with him in a movement that even pitched sometimes right and left.

The virtuosity and great musicality of Steven Isserlis have been well exposed in a Bach cello suite. We were in the presence of a very great cellist who has all the desirable qualities for this instrument." - Recital with Richard Egarr at the Quebec Music Club, INFO-CULTURE.BIZ, April 28, 2018

"Isserlis’ Elgar was commanding, intense and passionate, and his presence and audience communication was engaging." - Elgar's Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BACHTRACK, April 9, 2018

"With a host of impressive rhapsodic sweeps, Isserlis effortlessly carved through the different moods and sensations of Rachmaninov’s almost symphonic score, with Melnikov imposing in the composer’s characteristic crushing chords and intricate figurations. Their emphasis on drawing out different timbres from both piano and cello reaped rewards, avoiding making the piece sound homogenous, and the ominous undercurrents and elegant sumptuousness of the two middle movements led comfortably to a joyfully exuberant finale, with copious crystalline colour in the piano to complement Isserlis’ grand gestures." - Shostakovich, Pletnev, Kissin, and Rachmaninov recital at Wigmore Hall, BACHTRACK, February 22, 2018

"On either side came central masterpieces from that tradition. Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D Minor, dating from 1934, was given an intimate performance, Isserlis’s plangent lyricism being supported by a very reticent Melnikov at the piano. The Cello Sonata of Rachmaninov cannot be played without unbuttoned emotional commitment and there the temperature rose. Isserlis has always been able to make his lyrical playing pulse with emotional heat and so it was here, as the music was carried along on waves of ecstatic romanticism."Shostakovich, Pletnev, Kissin, and Rachmaninov recital at Wigmore Hall, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, February 22, 2018

"Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G minor Opus 19 was the expected high point of this recital... ...Like everything else in this programme, this seldom-played work was delivered with supreme accomplishment."Shostakovich, Pletnev, Kissin, and Rachmaninov recital at Wigmore Hall, THE INDEPENDENT, February 22, 2018

"...the music-making was truly sublime."Shostakovich, Pletnev, Kissin, and Rachmaninov recital at Wigmore Hall, EVENING STANDARD, February 22, 2018

"A dramatic presence onstage, with a cascade of curly gray hair, intently staring eyes, and a penchant for wielding his bow like a swooping sword when it flies off the strings, this master cellist commands attention... ...Everything he did got almost feverishly close attention — whirring trills and deeply struck double stops, dynamic shifts, and a dramatic pause before a ferocious cadenza. As the Allegro gained momentum and complexity, Isserlis ventured into the kind of impassioned territory that Dvořák or Tchaikovsky might elicit." - Haydn Cello Concerto No 2 with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE, February 12, 2018

"Fauré's Sonata No. 1, composed in 1917, offers fleeting light relief, Isserlis and Shih compelling but genial in the upbeat finale. It’s shock to move to Webern's Drei kleine Stücke, their expressive power totally out of proportion to their duration. Isserlis makes them sing, and the spare elegance of the final number is heartrending."The Cello in Wartime: Music by Debussy, Bridge, Fauré and Webern, with additional pieces played on a trench cello CD Review, THE ARTS DESK, November 11, 2017

"There’s a delicious harshness to his low notes, with his percussive attack giving the music a sandpaper grit. As he ascends, this grit washes away, but the depth and broadness remain. His tone is disarming — warm and inviting but with a taut, astringent edge. ... Isserlis cradled the simple melody, accented by vaporous arpeggios, with an exquisite tenderness. This was the polar opposite of his fiery, virtuosic Schumann performance, but it was no less impassioned or brilliant." - Schumann's Cello Concerto and Casal's "Song of the Birds" encore with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, November 10, 2017

"Isserlis’ performance gave the concerto a subtle warmth and sensitive nimbleness, combining a loose agility with a glowing, luminous lyricism in its broader melodic passages." - Schumann's Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, ARTSATL, November 10, 2017

"There was to be no show-boating and Isserlis' opening solo - emphatic groan followed by long heaving sigh - was breathtaking for its depth of despair. This was its tenor from tumultuous opening to devastating close. Themes and climaxes were built up trenchantly and the virtuosity involved became secondary to the music's essence." - Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, THE STRAITS TIMES, October 9, 2017

"Isserlis’s former combination of singing legato and short, period-aware attack are still evident, but with their beauty if anything heightened, and some of the faster figures are now further coloured by the odd bit of deliciously impish, rhythmic skittishness." - CPE Bach: Cello Concertos CD review, GRAMOPHONE, September 2017

"This recording is a real tonic. I defy anyone not to smile at Steven Isserlis’s effervescent readings of Haydn’s graceful and urbane cello concertos in C major and in D major. He spins an exquisitely light and agile line, maintaining a delightfully sunny disposition, even in each concerto’s adagio."CPE Bach: Cello Concertos CD review, THE GUARDIAN, September 10, 2017

"...Bell and Isserlis were virtually combustible but perfectly synched and impeccably in tune, physically demonstrative but profoundly connected to the inner life of the passage. It was a breathtaking rendition of this memorable stretch, and firmly established the lofty standard the two musicians would sustain and exceed for the remainder of the bravura performance." - Brahms Cto. For Violin and Cello with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Andrew Manze, and Joshua Bell, ZEAL NYC August 9. 2017

"The new recording of Brahms' Double Concerto In A Minor from violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Steven Isserlis also stands out for its warmth and closeness of communication between the two soloists and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

The fillers are also very apt. First is the slow movement from Schumann's late Violin Concerto In D Minor, essentially a violin and cello duo, with Benjamin Britten's edition of its closing.

Next is the original 1854 version of Brahms' Piano Trio No. 1 In B Major Op.8, which is longer and substantially different from the more familiar revised version heard in concert halls today.

The duo, joined by American pianist Jeremy Denk, makes the strongest possible case for this rarity." - For The Love of Brahms CD Review, THE STRAITS TIMES, August 9, 2017

"Throughout, Isserlis produced clear expressive playing, with no exaggerated phrasing, and a constant flow of beautiful sound, poignant in the Sarabande of No 5, and with stunning virtuosity in the final Gigue of No. 6." - Bach and Kurtag at the Norwich and Norfolk Festival, EASTERN DAILY PRESS, May 14, 2017

"In Shostakovich’s D minor cello sonata, Isserlis gave a soft sheen to the cantabile parts of the first movement, and an intense serenity to the slow movement." - Recital at Library of Congress, THE WASHINGTON POST, April 23, 2017

"There is only one way to play the Finale: very fast. Isserlis did exactly that but his beauty of tone and graciousness of phrase remained; this was the essence of his deeply-felt playing."Haydn’s C-major Cello Concerto with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, CLASSICAL SOURCE, March 20, 2017

"Isserlis gave a fully committed performance, mixing flowing melancholy over stoic rhythms with angular passages, and creating distance with delicate flurries in the more ethereal episodes." - Prokofiev's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 58 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BACHTRACK, December 8, 2016

"In its original version for violin, the piece’s recurring triadic melody might well have been the musical theme that haunted Proust. It certainly haunted Sunday’s audience, with Isserlis extracting every bit of colour possible from the deceptively simple phrase."Franck’s Sonata in A major with Connie Shih, at the University of Hong Kong, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, October 17, 2016

"Isserlis’s solo spot, following straight on in this unbroken strand, stayed in the deep waters with Mustonen’s own free-range meditation on the “Frei aber einsam” (“Free but lonely,” the notes F, A and E) motto of Joseph Joachim, subject of the late composite Violin Sonata from which we heard the first of Schumann’s two contributions, the Intermezzo, transcribed for cello and piano, a perfect, discreetly melancholy coda here." - Homage to Schumann by Mustonen at Wigmore Hall, THE ARTS DESK, October 5, 2016

"The stylistic integrity between Isserlis’ expressive playing, whether light or robust, and Levin’s busy, but clatter-free, virtuosity on his fortepiano was seamless." - Beethoven's music for piano and cello at Festival Music with Robert Levin, HERALD SCOTLAND, August 23, 2016

"If the Proms awarded medals for cello gymnastics, soloist Steven Isserlis would surely win gold for his fiendishly beautiful rendition of Thomas Adès's Lieux retrouvés." - Thomas Adés's Lieux retrouvès in Prom 40, THE INDEPENDENT, August 16, 2016

"Isserlis brought subtlety and conviction to the piece..." - Thomas Adés's Leiux retrouvès in Prom 40, THE GUARDIAN, August 16, 2016

"No one’s going through the motions, least of all Isserlis. He gets the mood exactly right, playing with an appealing blend of warmth and resignation. The flamboyant passages sparkle, and the last movement’s devastating backward glance is a belter." - Elgar & Walton Cello Concertos CD Review, THE ARTS DESK, April 9, 2016

"Isserlis’s way with them is as passionate as it is poetical: brilliant..." - Bach Cello Suites and Kurtág at Wigmore Hall, THE SUNDAY TIMES, February 28, 2016

"Leading into the sunlight of Bach’s Suite No 4, Kurtág’s Faith traced a momentous journey from passion to peace in three minutes flat." - Bach Cello Suites and Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages at Wigmore Hall, THE GUARDIAN, February 18, 2016

"This was a performance on the edge: deeply thoughtful and personal, and profoundly human." - Bach Cello Suites and Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages at Wigmore Hall, CLASSICAL SOURCE, February 17, 2016

"The playing had tender beauty as well as incisive energy, and the third movement was affirmative and joyous – a true testament of friendship, as Brahms intended it to be." - Brahms double concerto w/ Joshua Bell at Bridgewater Hall, MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, January 14, 2016

"Hearing thoughtfully considered and brilliantly executed performances by a duo whose scholarly acumen was bested only by their theatricality, made this a memorably provocative series of concerts." - Best of 2015: Top 10 classical music events, THE VANCOUVER SUN, December 30, 2015

Beethoven Cello Sonatas Robert Levin (fortepiano) and Steven Isserlis (cello). Gardner Museum
- Jeremy Eichler's Picks - The Year in Arts, THE BOSTON GLOBE, December 26, 2015

“The sparkling sound of the Schantz reproduction was once again the perfect complement for Isserlis, in an enchanting performance full of humour — most of it good-natured — yet tempered with lashings of elegant sentiment. Articulation and extremely rapid passage work, not to mention breathless pianissimos, were enormously effective on the Viennese instrument, and Isserlis’s range of dynamics and subtle use of vibrato informed every bar of the work.“   - Beethoven recital w/ Robert Levin, CLASSICAL VOICE NORTH AMERICA, March 19, 2015

“Isserlis, of course, is a matchless virtuoso, so much so that it might seem redundant to discuss the transcendent way he played Beethoven‘s visionary score; it would be more to the point to note that his Olympian talent connected the audience directly with the mind and heart of Beethoven, in a kind of musical séance.“   - Beethoven Sonatas w/ Robert Levin, THE PLAIN DEALER, March 11, 2015

“In addition to all the refined articulation, his endlessly sustained note at the close of the tender third movement was a thing of particular beauty.“   - Bach, Faure and Martinu w/ Connie Shih At Shriver Hall, THE BALTIMORE SUN, December 10, 2014

“With Isserlis’ unbridled musical fervor and his soft, lustrous tone came the added benefit of closely observing the musicians in their perfect little microcosm.“   -Boccherini and CPE Bach w/ Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE, October 10, 2014

“Mr. Isserlis‘ playing was wonderfully fluid & had a lightness & grace that fit the repertoire well.“   - Two cello concertos w/ Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, NOT FOR FUN ONLY, October 9, 2014

“Isserlis was an ideal guest artist. There never seems to be a shortage of wit in his performances, particularly when he is dealing with earlier periods of music history. The [C.P.E.] Bach concerto was particularly impressive for the energetic virtuosity it elicits.“   - Two cello concertos w/ Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, October 9, 2014

“But those performances rarely featured a solo turn as striking as what Steven Isserlis offered on the Edward Elgar Cello Concerto Friday, an interpretation full of strength and sadness. The English virtuoso was as powerful on the fleetly fingered perpetual motion passages of the second movement as when summoning grief and resignation on the weighty finale.“   - Elgar Cello Concerto w/ Minnesota Orchestra, PIONEER PRESS, February 14, 2014

“Steven Isserlis was anything but routine. Isserlis flings himself into music... he’s utterly committed to every moment, making a light, elegant sound that is anything but exaggerated.“   - Schumann Cello Concerto w/ National Symphony, THE WASHINGTON POST, February 6, 2014

“Isserlis’s and Levin’s is a shared experience of audacity and spirituality.“   - CD: Beethoven Cello Sonatas w/ Robert Levin, GRAMOPHONE, February 1, 2014

“Isserlis himself contributes a highly personable and informative booklet essay.“   - Dvorak Cello Concertos CD, GRAMOPHONE, October 1, 2013

“...playing with rapturously warm tone...“   - Wigmore Hall, THE TELEGRAPH, September 19, 2013

“Superstar cellist Steven Isserlis delivered jaw-droppingly good performances in Kai and in Kurtágʼs Signs, Games and Messages for solo cello. He entertained not merely for his extraordinary mastery of his instrument, but also his exuberant performance mannerisms: the extravagantly wide bow movements, the hyperactive leg twitches and the monumental mass of curly hair.“   - Metropolis Festival in Melbourne Australia, LIMELIGHT, May 2, 2013

“Isserlis’s bristling intensity was responsive to the youthful vitality while also bringing a yearning lyricism to the interior pages.“   - University of Chicago Presents, CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW, February 2, 2013

Mr. Isserlis’ musicality and command of his instrument is breathtaking: his approach is basically restrained rather than impulsive... He manages to coax the most wonderful effects in color and dynamics from his instrument while perfectly maintaing a silken, singing tone; his playing is wonderfully vocal yet without the slightest rough edge – delicate in the very best sense of the word, and with dynamism in equal measure.“   - University of Chicago Presents, CHICAGO CRITIC, February 1, 2013

“And this pair of musicians, who got together by accident but seem perfectly suited for one another, put it across brilliantly to the large Cleveland Chamber Music Society audience... “   - Chamber recital w/ Kirill Gerstein at Plymouth Church, CLEVELANDCLASSICAL, January 30, 2013

“Mr. Isserlis handled both works with his customary persuasiveness and unerring ear, his gutstringed instrument singing in its highest register and purring below.“   - Brahms Sonata No.2 at 92nd Street Y, THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 28, 2013