Hailed by The New York Times as “imaginative and eloquent” and dubbed “a local hero” by the Boston Globe, cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer maintains a vibrant and diverse career as one of Boston’s most sought-after artists. He is principal cellist of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and a core member of some of New England’s most celebrated chamber groups, including the Chameleon Arts Ensemble, Winsor Music, the Ibis Camerata, Monadnock Music, and Dinosaur Annex. His 2003 performance with the Boston Philharmonic of the Saint-Saëns Concerto in A minor was praised by the Globe for “melodic phrasing of melting tenderness” and “dazzling dispatch of every bravura challenge”; more recent solo appearances include Strauss’ Don Quixote, also with the Boston Philharmonic; Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante, with Emmanuel Music; and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, with the Indian Hill Symphony.
Mr. Popper-Keizer has been featured on close to two dozen recordings, including the premieres of Robert Erickson’s Fantasy for Cello and Orchestra and Thomas Oboe Lee’s tone poem Eurydice, both with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Yehudi Wyner’s De Novo for cello and small chamber ensemble; Malcolm Peyton’s unaccompanied Cello Piece; and chamber works by John Cage, Gunther Schuller, and Martin Boykan. His most recent solo CD, At the still point of the turning world, features major unaccompanied works by Kodaly and Gawlick, and will be released in September 2013 on the Musica Omnia label.
As an alumnus of the New England Conservatory, Mr. Popper-Keizer studied with master pedagogue and Piatigorsky protégé Laurence Lesser; at the Tanglewood Music Center he was privileged to work with Mstislav Rostropovich, and was Yo-Yo Ma’s understudy for Strauss’ Don Quixote under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. His prior teachers include Stephen Harrison, at Stanford University, and Karen Andrie, at the University of California at Santa Cruz.