Orli Shaham Comments On This Season’s Final Café Ludwig Program

On May 8, we’ll be performing the Fantasie for Flute and Piano by Philippe Gaubert and a flute movement from Martinu’s Sextet, the Serenade for String Trio by Ernst von Dohnanyi, and we’ll wrap up the program with the fabulous Piano Trio by Maurice Ravel.

I love all the players on this program, as always: Ben Smolen, Dennis Kim, Meredith Crawford and Warren Hagerty. I enjoy this combination of Czech and French music that will “speak” to each other in this program. There’s a lot of intimate music making here, with small forces in each of the pieces. It’s a lovely way to end our Cafe Ludwig season, with these duos and trios, displaying the deep personal connections which we all have and which we’re all so grateful for.

The Ravel Piano Trio is one of my absolute favorite pieces of chamber music, so I’m particularly excited to play it with Dennis Kim and Warren Hagerty. It’s so perfectly thought out, so delicate, so full of imagination, and demands so much of each of the players. That’s one of the reasons I thought this is a perfect setting for it. Dennis and Warren and I have established a wonderful rapport together, and we’ve tackled chamber music in all sorts of contexts by now, and we’ve gotten to know each other well as players. We’re excited to come together as a trio and play a piece like this, which requires such cohesion among the players. It asks us to set a scene, without letting any part of that scene go untouched. It was the final piece that he wrote before heading out to the front, as a volunteer soldier for World War I. It was particularly important to him to make sure it was well edited and that everything was in place because he had a palpable sense that it might end up being his last piece. It didn’t, but he thought of it that way. In many ways, it brought his level of composition to an entirely different place than where it had been before, with that awareness that it might be his final statement. ~ Orli Shaham, Curator and Host of Café Ludwig

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Café Ludwig’s Artistic Director Orli Shaham Joins Juilliard’s Piano Faculty

Host, Curator and Pianist Orli Shaham at the Samueli Theatre during a Café Ludwig concert.

The Juilliard School just announced that Orli Shaham is joining the prestigious school’s piano faculty in the 2022-23 academic year. Shaham is an alumna of the school (Pre-College ’93; and the cross-registration program with Columbia University ’97), and for the past two years has taught at Juilliard as an interim faculty member. Pianists Soyeon Kate Lee and Shai Wosner also join the faculty.

Orli Shaham says, “I am honored and humbled to join the stellar faculty at The Juilliard School. In my years as interim faculty, I’ve seen firsthand how brilliant and inspiring these students are, and I’m thrilled to continue to dig into it all with them! Congratulations, too, to my fellow new faculty members, pianists Shai Wosner and Soyeon Kate Lee, I can’t wait to work alongside you and the rest of the Juilliard faculty and staff.”

In a statement, department chair Veda Kaplinsky says that Shaham, Lee and Wosner each “embody the ideals that are so fundamental to our mission: a passion for teaching, a keen intellect and superb artistry. We look forward to having them join our exceptional faculty and to working alongside them.” Dean David Serkin Ludwig adds that they also each “possess the rare combination of great artistry and outstanding teaching ability that defines the Juilliard faculty.”

Orli Shaham, who was born in Israel and grew up in New York, is the artistic director of both Pacific Symphony’s chamber series Café Ludwig in Costa Mesa, California, and the interactive children’s concert series Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard, which she founded in 2010. Also a regular guest host on National Public Radio’s From the Top, she’s chair of the board of trustees at Kaufman Music Center in New York City.

This season, Shaham is releasing the second and third volumes of the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas. Her Mozart recording project also includes volume 1 of the Piano Sonatas and her album of Piano Concertos with St. Louis Symphony, all of which are part of her discography of a dozen titles on Canary Classics. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University, where she participated in the Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard exchange, she pursued graduate studies in historical musicology at Columbia. She is a winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Avery Fisher Career Grant.