Concert pianist and early keyboard performer Michael Tsalka (Israel/Netherlands) has won numerous prizes and awards in Europe, the U.S.A., the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. A versatile musician, he performs with equal virtuosity a wide span of repertoire from the early Baroque to our days on the harpsichord, fortepiano, clavichord, square piano, chamber organ and modern piano. Dr. Tsalka was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Tel-Aviv University, he continued his studies in Germany and Italy. In 2001, he received a Piano Solo Diploma from the Scuola Superiore Internazionale del Trio di Trieste, where he studied with Dario di Rosa. From 2002-2008, he studied at Temple University under the guidance of Joyce Lindorff, Harvey Wedeen, and Lambert Orkis. Tsalka holds three degrees from that institution: a Master’s degree in Chamber Music/Accompanying, a Master’s degree in Harpsichord Performance and a Doctorate in Piano Performance. Other teachers included Sandra Mangsen, Klaus Schilde, Malcolm Bilson, and Charles Rosen.
Dr. Tsalka maintains a busy concert schedule. Recent engagements include performances at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Forbidden City Hall in Beijing, Bellas Artes Theater in Mexico City, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, St. Denis Festival in Paris, Der Gasteig in Munich, Beethoven House in Bonn, Tokyo’s City Opera, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Volksbuehne Hall in Berlin, the Jerusalem Music Center, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence, and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and interviews and live performances for radio and T.V. stations in Hong Kong, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Munich, St. Petersburg, Beijing, Stockholm, Helsinki, Auckland, St. Louis, Sydney, Amsterdam, Brussels, Shanghai, Paris, Geneva, London, Mexico City, and Jerusalem.
He has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, among them The Sydney Consort (Australia), the University of Birmingham Chamber Orchestra (U.K.), Temple University Chamber Orchestra (Philadelphia, U.S.A.), Krasnoyarsk Chamber Orchestra (Russia), Guatemala Symphony Orchestra, Musica Raritana (New Jersey, U.S.A.), Silvestre Revueltas Chamber Orchestra (Guanajuato, Mexico), St. Louis’ City Orchestra (U.S.A.), Hermitage Festival Orchestra (St. Petersburg, Russia), Baroque Camerata (Kaohsiung, Taiwan), Filharmonica Orchestra (Manila, Philippines), NCMA (NZ), ThoroughBass (Sydney), the elson Symphony Orchestra (NZ), and Collegium Musicum (Auckland, NZ).
Dr. Tsalka has recorded 20 CDs for labels such as Naxos, Grand Piano, Ljud & Bild (Stockholm), Brilliant Classics (Amsterdam) Paladino (Vienna), the Israeli Music Institute (Israel), and Wirripang (Australia). Current and future recording projects include CDs dedicated to keyboard works by Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Daniel Gottlob Türk, Johann Baptist Wanhal, Carl Dittersdorf, Ferdinand Ries, Franz Schubert, F. Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, Viktor Ullmann, Leonardo Coral, contemporary Australian Keyboard Music, and Yehezkel Braun. Tsalka often perform chamber music: recent ensembles he has formed include Duo Filmharmonia and Duo Musica Curiosa, together with historical keyboards, theremin and glass Armonica virtuoso Dennis James.
Other musicians Michael Tsalka has collaborated with include Peter Sykes, Cynthia Roberts, Alon Sariel, and Lambert Orkis.
Together with Dr. Angelica Minero Escobar, he is preparing a critical edition of Daniel Gottlob Türk’s 30 keyboard sonatas for Artaria Editions in New Zealand (artaria.com). Sonatas 1–12 were published in 2014. Sonatas 13-24 will be published in 2018:
Volume 1: ae540-sonaten-fur-das-clavier-collection1
Volume 2: ae541-sonaten-fur-das-clavier-collection2
Additionally, eight of his scholarly articles have been published by music journals, including De Clavicordio (Italy), Piano Bulletin EPTA (Netherlands), Early Keyboard Journal and Early Music America (U.S.A.). Dr. Tsalka often collaborates with composers: In 2016-2018, he will perform sixteen world premieres dedicated to him by composers of fourteen different nationalities.
He has presented more then hundred master classes and lecture-recitals in academic institutions in all continents. During his doctorate years, he taught at the Esther Boyer College of Music. From 2009-2014, he was a professor of harpsichord and chamber music at the Escuela Superior de Música, National Center for the Arts (Mexico City), and a professor of early keyboards at Lilla Akademien (Stockholm). Currently, he is a visiting professor at Celaya Conservatory in Guanajuato, Mexico and the NCMA (Nelson Center of Musical Arts) in New Zealand.
Dr. Tsalka is on the board of directors of ECMTA (European Chamber Music Teachers Association) and the HKSNA (Historical Keyboard Society of North America). In 2011, he was the artistic director of the Bach Festival, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Qingdao’s Grand Theatre and Wuhan’s Qintai Concert Hall. From 2012 to 2015, he was the co-artistic director of the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival in Kuopio, Finland. In December 2014, he was the artist director of a mini-festival, titled “Fanfares and Ornaments” for the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm. From 2014, he became the artistic director of the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in the Netherlands (www.geelvinck.nl/geelvinckfestival/muziekagenda-geelvinck-fortepiano-festival-2017/). Currently, he is also the artistic director of the Across Bridges International Piano Summer Academy and Festival (Shanghai, Lanzhou, Chengdu, and Valencia, Spain: https://acrossbridgespiano.com).
In 2018, Dr. Tsalka was the Artist in residence of the NCMA in NZ for two months, in which he directed and took part in multiple concert series and orchestral performances. For further information, please visit: www.michaeltsalka.com
“Dazzling playing, bristling with creativity and emotion” (Sydney Arts Guide, Australia), following the Concerto Extravaganza event with ThoroughBass Band, 2016.
“Michael Tsalka’s recital at the Boston Early Music Festival was interpretatively revealing, . . . showing almost incredible virtuosity throughout” (The Berkshire Review, International Journal for the Arts, N.Y. and Boston).
On his CD of Viktor Ullmann’s Piano Sonatas
“Tsalka’s articulate and sensitive reading gives each sonata palpable musical life, the works coming across as “contemporary” and as relevant to current musical thought today as when they were written. This is a great and lasting strength of Viktor Ullmann’s writing. Michael Tsalka finds a fine balance between his understanding of the background and circumstances of each sonata and his objective playing of some of the finest piano music composed in the first half of the 20th century.”
(Concert Critique Blog, Pamela Hickman, Jerusalem, April 2015)
On his CD of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Paladino Label)
”This is a brilliant recording by an artist with a passion. Stepping outside the well-worn path of keyboard music, he creates a performance that make you sit up and listen. Technicality and creativity meet in a beautifully balanced performance. (Music Web International. RECORDING OF THE YEAR, Dec. 2013)
“The concert was a smashing success…” (Global Times, Beijing)
“Tsalka is evidently a true, brilliant musician…” (Clavichord International, Amsterdam)