Inbal Segev is “a cellist with something to say” (Gramophone). Combining “thrillingly projected, vibrato-rich playing” (Washington Post) with “complete dedication and high intelligence” (San Francisco Classical Voice), she makes solo appearances at leading international venues and with preeminent orchestras and conductors worldwide. With former New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow and violist Karen Dreyfus, the Israeli American cellist is also a founding member of the Amerigo Trio. Celebrated for her fresh insights into music’s great masterworks, she is equally committed to reinvigorating the cello repertoire, and has commissioned and premiered major new works from an international who’s who of today’s foremost contemporary composers, including Timo Andres, Anna Clyne, Avner Dorman, Gity Razaz and Dan Visconti. She has co-curated the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival since its inception in 2017.
Segev is personally responsible for commissioning, premiering, recording and championing new works by important contemporary composers from the U.S., Israel and beyond. Most recently, she launched the “20 for 2020” project, commissioning new chamber works from 20 of today’s most compelling composers; she looks forward to premiering the project with a music video series and an Avie Records album to document this challenging year. Other recent projects include Anna Clyne’s concerto DANCE, which Segev co-commissioned and premiered under Cristian Măcelaru’s leadership at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California (2019), before recording the work alongside Elgar’s iconic concerto with Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Released on the Avie Records label, the album was an instant success, topping the Amazon Classical Concertos chart and inspiring glowing praise from outlets including BBC Radio 3, La Scala Radio, and NPR Music, which named DANCE’s opening movement among its “Favorite Songs of 2020.” Similarly, after giving the world premiere of Timo Andres’s concerto Upstate Obscura at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (2018), Segev recorded the concerto with the Metropolis Ensemble for future release by Nonesuch.
Earlier new works championed by Segev include David Baker’s Cello Concerto, which she performed at New York’s Town Hall while still studying at Juilliard, and David Israel’s unaccompanied Dance Suite, which she premiered and recorded in 1995. She went on to make the first recording of Max Schubel’s Concerto for Cello and Horn with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra for Opus One (2001); she commissioned and premiered Paola Prestini’s Oceano at Columbia University (2002); premiered Ronn Yedidia’s String Trio with the Amerigo Trio at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall (2010); co-commissioned and premiered Avner Dorman’s Cello Concerto with the Anchorage Symphony (2012); gave the U.S. premiere of Argentinian composer Maximo Flugelman’s Cello Concerto at the Castleton Festival (2012); premiered and recorded Lucas Richman’s Declaration with the composer conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony (2015); commissioned and premiered Gity Razaz’s multimedia piece Legend of Sigh at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust (2015); premiered Dan Visconti’s Cello Concerto with the California Symphony (2017); and joined the Albany Symphony for the first performance of Christopher Rouse’s Violoncello Concerto since its premiere by Yo-Yo Ma in 1994 (2018). It was also Segev who gave the overdue U.S. premiere of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s long-lost, posthumously reconstructed Cello Concerto.
The cellist’s premiere recordings of new concertos crown a rich and wide-ranging discography. Marking both her Avie label debut and her first album with Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen, her regular recital partner, in 2018 Segev released a Romantic pairing of Schumann’s Fantasiestücke with sonatas by Chopin and Grieg. Having studied Bach’s solo cello suites for many years, she recorded the complete cycle over a six-month period with Grammy-winning producer Da-Hong Seetoo at New York City’s Academy of Arts and Letters for release by Vox Classics in 2015; documenting this process behind the scenes, a companion film by Nick Davis Productions was screened at Lincoln Center and in Maine and Bogotà. Segev’s earlier recordings include Dohnányi serenades with the Amerigo Trio (Navona, 2011); jazz-inflected chamber music with Fernando Otero and friends (Nonesuch, 2009); Jewish cello and piano masterpieces with Ron Regev (Vox, 2008); chamber works by Paul Ben-Haim (Centaur, 2003); Max Stern’s Bedouin Impressions (ACUM, 2000); and cello sonatas by Beethoven and Boccherini with pianist Richard Bishop (Opus One, 2000). Segev can also be heard playing music by Peter Nashe on the soundtrack of Bee Season, a 2005 feature film starring Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche.
A prodigy who first played for the Israeli president at just eight years old, Segev came to international attention ten years later when she made concerto debuts with both the Berlin Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Since then she has appeared as soloist with such leading orchestras as the Pittsburgh Symphony, California Symphony and Castleton Festival Orchestra in the U.S., as well as with the Bangkok Symphony, Bogotá Philharmonic, Dortmund Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon and Polish National Radio Symphony, collaborating with Marin Alsop, Lorin Maazel and other of the world’s foremost conductors.
Besides appearing as a founding member of the celebrated Amerigo Trio, Segev has undertaken chamber collaborations with such esteemed artists as Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, Gilbert Kalish, Anthony McGill, Anne Akiko Meyers, Juho Pohjonen, Jason Vieaux and the Vogler Quartet. She has given duo recital tours of China with both Tian Jiang and Alon Goldstein; has toured Colombia and Spain with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; recently embarked on a solo tour of Chile that included multiple educational outreach initiatives; and has given solo performances of Bach’s cello suites at international venues from New York’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Shanghai Concert Hall and Jerusalem Theatre. Her other recital highlights include solo and chamber performances at New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, Bargemusic and Roulette, Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chicago’s Harris Theater and Bogotá’s Teatro Mayor, while her festival appearances include the Banff, Ravinia, Bowdoin, Olympic, Cape & Islands and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra New Music festivals in North America; the Siena, Rolandseck and Montpellier festivals in Europe; the Jerusalem Music Center and Upper Galilee festivals in Israel; and the Cartagena Festival in Colombia, to which she returns annually.
Segev’s numerous honors include prizes at the Pablo Casals, Paulo and Washington International Cello Competitions. She has been featured in a live Q&A session at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse and a dedicated episode of The Musical Life podcast series, and holds regular interactive live-streamed masterclasses and Q&A sessions at the CelloBello resource center. Available at her YouTube channel, the cellist’s popular masterclass series, Musings with Inbal Segev, has thousands of subscribers around the world and more than a million views to date.
A native of Israel, Inbal Segev began playing the cello at the age of five. At 16 she was invited by Isaac Stern to the U.S., where she continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot, Joel Krosnick, Harvey Shapiro and Beaux Arts Trio co-founder Bernard Greenhouse, earning degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School. Today she lives in New York City with her husband, their three teenage children and her cello, which was made by Francesco Ruggieri in 1673.