Raphael Wallfisch was born in London into a family of distinguished musicians, his mother the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, and his father the pianist Peter Wallfisch. At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers, including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life's work.
While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky in California (Thornton School of Music), he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetz in the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home.
At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Florence. Since then he has enjoyed a world-wide career playing with such orchestras as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Symphony, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and many others.
He is regularly invited to play at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Spoleto, Prades, Oslo and Schleswig Holstein.
Teaching is one of Raphael Wallfisch's passions and he teaches masterclasses all over the world. Raphael holds professorships in Switzerland at the Zürich Winterthur Konservatorium and in Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music.
His extensive discography of recordings with EMI, Chandos, Black Box, ASV, Naxos and Nimbus includes concertante works by Dohnanyi, Respighi, Barber, Hindemith and Martinu, as well as Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian and a wide range of British cello concertos, including works by MacMillan, Finzi, Delius, Bax, Bliss, Britten, Moeran and Kenneth Leighton. For the Walton Edition on Chandos, he recorded the Cello Concerto originally written for his master Piatigorsky. Raphael’s latest recording - featuring Jewish repertoire by Bloch, Ravel and Caplet - triggered some extensive interest from the media as soon as it was released in January 2014, in time for Holocaust Memorial Day (27 Jan).
Britain's leading composers have worked closely with Raphael Wallfisch, often writing works for him. These include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, John Metcalf, Paul Patterson, Robert Simpson, Robert Saxton, Roger Smalley, Giles Swayne, John Tavener and Adrian Williams.
Next to his solo career, Raphael also greatly enjoys touring with his piano trio - Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch - which he and his colleagues Hagai Shaham (violin) and Arnon Erez (piano) founded in 2009. It was received extremely well internationally from the very start. The trio released three recordings on Nimbus, each receiving the highest critical acclaim. Their fourth recording - an all-Brahms 2 CD including the Double Concerto - is planned to come out in January 2016.
Raphael Wallfisch plays a 1760 Gennaro Gagliano and a modern instrument built especially for him by Patrick Robin.