Pianist Orli Shaham and the Youngstown symphony

Thursday, March 10, 2022 - 7:30 pm

Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today’s most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics, Ms. Shaham is admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. Leading the evening is conductor André Raphel. A dynamic and versatile conductor hailed for his profound musical performances, André Raphel is renowned for his technical brilliance.

Acclaimed for his creative programing and versatility, conductor André Raphel is renowned for his compelling musical performances. A dynamic podium presence, he has also developed a reputation as a skilled communicator. Raphel has led critically acclaimed festivals, world premieres and commissioned works by Richard Danielpour, Jennifer Higdon, Kenneth Fuchs, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Uri Caine and Hannibal Lokumbe.  

Conductor Laureate of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, André Raphel led the orchestra as Music Director for 15 years. Other key positions have included, Assistant Conductor to Kurt Masur at the New York Philharmonic for two years. He was Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra for six years. Raphel served for three years as Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony.    

Raphel enjoys an active career as guest conductor. During the 2021-22 season, André Raphel appears with the Youngstown Symphony and Hudson Valley Philharmonic among others.  In recent seasons, he has led the Detroit Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and San Antonio Symphony.  He has appeared with most of the major American orchestras including Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Raphel has led Germany’s Bamberg Symphony in two recordings for Bavarian Broadcasting. He made his Los Angeles debut conducting at the gala opening of The Broad museum. A recording of Uri Caine’s Passion of Octavius Catto with Raphel conducting has garnered acclaim.       

André Raphel made his European debut with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie and has also led the Moravska Philharmonie. In the United States he has appeared with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Seattle, the National Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra among others. He made his Carnegie Hall debut leading Robert Shaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a concert celebrating the centennial of mezzo-soprano Marian Anderson. Raphel’s international engagements have further included appearances with the Auckland Philharmonia, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Columbia and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica.

A guest conductor at major music festivals, Raphel has led concerts at the Blossom Music Festival and Tanglewood Music Center.  He has also appeared at the Mann Center, Grant Park Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Brevard Music Festival, and the Campos do Jordao Festival in Brazil. 

Raphel has a strong commitment to education and community engagement. His commitment to education is reflected in his work at leading conservatories and training programs.  He has led the Juilliard Orchestra, New World Symphony, Kennedy Center Summer Music Institute and Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. During his tenure with the Saint Louis Symphony, he served as Music Director of the orchestra’s In Unison program, a partnership between the orchestra and local churches. 

Born André Raphel Smith in Durham, North Carolina he began formal music lessons at age 11.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami, and pursued further study at Yale University where he earned his Master’s Degree.  While at Yale, he began conducting studies with Otto-Werner Mueller.  He continued studies with Mueller at The Curtis Institute of Music earning a Diploma in conducting and at The Juilliard School, where he was awarded the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and received an Advanced Certificate in orchestral conducting.

Raphel is the recipient of numerous honors and awards which attest to his artistry. In 2012, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Miami.  The Philadelphia Orchestra issued a special commemorative CD featuring William Grant Still’s Symphony No.1 with Maestro Raphel conducting. He received the Distinguished Service Award from Yale University.  Raphel is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from West Liberty University. The North Carolina Senate awarded Raphel the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine.”  The award, presented annually is the state’s highest honor for a civilian. 


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 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.
Ms. Shaham’s 2021-2022 season includes performances with the Marin Symphony (Alasdair Neale conducting) and Reading Symphony Orchestra. She is in her 14th season as the Artistic Director for Pacific Symphony’s chamber music series in Costa Mesa, California. She is a featured performer and host on each of the chamber recitals throughout the series. In 2021 she gave the world premiere performance of the newly commissioned work by Margaret Brouwer, “Parallel Isolations” with musicians from the symphony.
In 2020, as part of her multi-year, multi-disc Mozart project, Orli Shaham released the first of a five-volume set of the complete Mozart piano sonatas on the Canary Classics label. “Shaham’s skills are nothing short of awe inspiring,” hailed Take Effect Reviews. Volume 1 includes Piano Sonatas No. 3, K. 281, No. 13, K. 333, and No. 17, K. 570; all in Bb major. Volumes 2 and 3 of this Mozart sonata cycle are released in 2021.

Her discography also includes “Brahms Inspired” and “American Grace” (Canary Classics). Orli Shaham and her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham, have collaborated on several recordings including “Nigunim – Hebrew Melodies”, “Dvorák for Two” on Deutsche Gramophone, an all-Prokofiev disc, and “Mozart in Paris” featuring Mozart’s Six Sonatas, Op. 1.

Ms. Shaham is Artistic Director for the interactive children’s concert series, Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard, which she founded in 2010. 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. In 2020, Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard and Kaufman Music Center collaborated to create a 10-episode video series called “Playdates”.
She is Co-Host and Creative for NPR’s “From the Top”, the nationally broadcast radio program featuring performances and conversations with talented teenage musicians. In addition to her activities on stage, Ms. Shaham is on faculty at The Juilliard School, and serves on the juries of both the Cliburn and Honens International Piano Competitions in 2022. She has previously served on the juries of the Cliburn International Junior, New York International, Sydney International, Virginia Waring International and Hilton Head International piano competitions.

Orli Shaham has been a Steinway Artist since 2003.

André Raphel, conductor
Orli Shaham, piano


Jennifer Higdon  blue cathedral  

Robert Schumann   Piano Concerto in a minor

Dmitri Shostakovich   Symphony No. 5