Hailed by The New York Times for his “infectious charisma” and by the Toronto Star as a “very stylish and subtle musician”, percussionist Michael Israelievitch is widely respected for his innate musicality and “electrifying” artistry (The Minneapolis-St. Paul Pioneer Press).
Mr. Israelievitch was named Principal Timpanist of the SWR Symphony Orchestra (Stuttgart, Germany) in September 2016, following one season serving as Principal Timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony and six seasons as Principal Timpanist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO).
In high demand as a guest timpanist, he has appeared on many occasions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as with orchestras around the world including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB), Frankfurt Radio Symphony (HR), Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, and on tour in Europe and the United States with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed as Principal Timpanist with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and as percussionist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, and on tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a percussion soloist, Mr. Israelievitch has appeared with several orchestras, most notably giving world premiere performances of new concertos by Kelly-Marie Murphy and Alexander Levkovich with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. During the 2011-12 Season, he was featured with the SPCO and conductor Roberto Abbado, performing James MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel to critical acclaim. The Pioneer Press called it “the most theatrical concerto performance St. Paul’s Ordway Center may have ever hosted…[Israelievitch] successfully commandeering a 40-foot-long arsenal of percussion instruments with authority and admirable musicality.”
Mr. Israelievitch has collaborated with artists including Leif Ove Andsnes, Martha Argerich, Measha Brueggergosman, Nelson Freire, Hyung-Ki Joo, Peter Oundjian, and Dawn Upshaw and has performed chamber music concerts at the Verbier Festival, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Chautauqua Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and in New York City at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and Alice Tully Hall. He has premiered works by leading composers including Samuel Adler, Bruce Adolphe, Michael Colgrass, and Libby Larsen.
From 1999-2015, Mr. Israelievitch performed with his father, the late violinist Jacques Israelievitch, as the Israelievitch Duo during which time they commissioned dozens of works and performed extensively in recital and with orchestra. In 2006, they released a commercial recording for Fleur de Son Classics, entitled Hammer and Bow.
Mr. Israelievitch’s performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and BBC Radio and televised on the ARTE network in Europe. He can be heard on orchestral recordings for Sony Classical, Hänssler Classic, Naïve Classique, and the San Francisco Symphony’s SFS Media label, including the complete Schumann Symphonies and Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas. Mr. Israelievitch can also be heard and seen regularly on SWR Classic’s Live in High Definition Web Concerts, as well as on its extensive YouTube channel.
A former student of Daniel Druckman and Roland Kohloff at the Juilliard School, Mr. Israelievitch completed his Master’s Degree in 2007 at Boston University under the tutelage of Timothy Genis. Following these studies, he spent two and a half seasons as Timpani Fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach—an organization for which he returns regularly as teacher and coach.
Mr. Israelievitch has served on the percussion faculty of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra in Switzerland, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), and has also taught classes at the Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar and conducted master classes in both Europe and the United States. In addition to being a Zildjian Orchestral Artist, Mr. Israelievitch proudly endorses JG Percussion and Remo Drumheads.