Michael Tsalka – fortepiano and early keyboards

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Early keyboard performer and pianist 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 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, 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), Saarbrucken Symphony Orchestra (Germany), Baroque Camerata (Kaohsiung, Taiwan), Filharmonica Orchestra (Manila, Philippines), and ThoroughBass (Sydney).


Dr. Tsalka has recorded 20 CDs for labels such as Naxos, Grand Piano, Ljud & Bild (Stockholm), Brilliant Classics (Amsterdam) Paladino (Vienna), and 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 established include the Mediterranean Trio (with Yiannis Miralis, saxophone, Miltiades Papastamou, violin and M. Tsalka, piano); a Trio with Alon Sariel (mandolin), Izhar Elias (guitar) and M. Tsalka (harpsichord, fortepiano), and the Filmharmonia Duo and Musica Curiosa Duo, together with organist and historical keyboards performer Dennis James.


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 2017:

Volume 1: ae540-sonaten-fur-das-clavier-collection1

Volume 2: ae541-sonaten-fur-das-clavier-collection2

Additionally, seven 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.


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. In 2014 he became the artistic director of the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in the Netherlands (www.geelvinckfestival.nl). Currently, he is also the artistic director of the Across Bridges International Piano Summer Academy and Festival (Shanghai and Valencia: https://acrossbridgespiano.com).



“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)








Impromptu in G-Flat Major by Franz Schubert, played by Michael Tsalka. Instrument: Graf Piano, at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.






Muziekfestival ‘Amsterdam Virtuosi 2011’

Michael Tsalka heeft zitting in de jury van het Concours ‘Amsterdam Virtuosi 2011’.

Michael Tsalka speelt op zaterdag 25 juni om 17.15 uur – aansluitend op het Concours ‘Amsterdam Virtuosi 2011’, waarvan hij aan jury deelneemt – de Goldberg Variaties van J.S. Bach op fortepiano.

Geelvinck Square Fortepiano Festival 2012

Michael Tsalka heeft zitting in de jury van hedendaagse composities voor tafelpiano met …, bezetting naar keuze, uitgeschreven in het kader van het Geelvinck Square Fortepiano Festival 2012.

Michael Tsalka geeft een recital op zaterdagavond 6 oktober 2012 met een programma, waarin delen van Bach’s Kunst der Fuge, maar ook W.F. Bach Polonaises, Cherubini’s fantasie in C groot, een sonate van D.G. Türk,  een Gigue van Mozart, Ligeti’s Hungarian Rock Chaconne en Leonardo’s Coral’s Constellaciones. Dit recital zal worden uitgevoerd op verschillende tafelpiano’s.

Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival 2013

Michael Tsalka gaf op 13 oktober 2013 een recital in de Posthoornkerk: 500 Years of Keyboard Music – a Journey through Time and Continents.

Hij gaf op 14 oktober een Masterclass tafelpiano voor deelnemers aan de Dag van de Tafelpiano

Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival 2014

Michael Tsalka is artistiek leider van deze vierde editie van het festival, gericht op historische piano’s. Hij treedt op tijdens het festival met recitals:

– 10 oktober: Openingsconcert: New on Fortepiano, nieuwe composities voor tafelpiano
– 17 oktober: Captivating Kaleidoscope: all early Keyboards on Stage
– 18 oktober: Plucked Fancies: Harpsichord – Fortepiano – Guitar & Mandoline met Izhar Elias- gitaar en Alon Sariel – mandoline
– 25 oktober: Exploring J.S. Bach’s Art of the Fugue

Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival 2015

Michael Tsalka geeft artistiek leiding aan het vijfde Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in oktober 2015.
Hij treedt tevens op met meerdere recitals:

– 3 okt.: pre-festival concert met het 7- Bruggen Festival: het Spook & de Opera, in de Bazel
– 8 okt.: start Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival & PianoDuo Festival in de Amstelkerk
– 12 okt.: met het Mediterranean Trio: The Dance of Dionysos
– 13 okt.: met het Mediterranean Trio: The Dance of Dionysos,  in Kasteel Heeswijk
– 15 ok.: Last Piano Sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven & Schubert
– 16 okt.: met James Tibbles: von DIttersdorf: Ovidius Metamorphoses
– 23 okt.: New Frontiers: nieuwe composities voor tafelpiano in Felix Meritis
– 24 okt.: met Shuann Chai: Two Youthful Works – Schumann & Brahms (12h.)
– 24 okt.: met Megumi Tanno, Joyce Lindorff en James Tibbles: Multi-Keyboard (20.15h.)
– 25 okt.: met Norberto Broggini: Bach in Felix Meritis