Biography Liza Ferschtman

To love music deeply and share that with her audience is Liza Ferschtman’s raison d’être.  A musical storyteller committed to the emotional language of every composer she interprets, the ever-widening path of her international career is as varied as the work she performs. For a musical chameleon like Liza, the romantic standard repertoire feels equally important as playing or collaborating with leading voices of our time such as Fagerlund, Zuidam, Kancheli, Lann and Wolfe. Her great affinity for Schubert and Beethoven stands right alongside a passion for the expressionistic world of the early 20th century composers. Her extensive discography lays further claim to that versatility, with music written from 1676 to 2014.

Liza has made a particular specialty of the high-wire daring of the solo violin recital. Widely known for her interpretations of Bach’s solo violin works and often performing them in one marathon concert, she is also one the few performers who dares play all the Rosary Sonatas of Biber in one performance, using a minimum of 7 different violins to do so.

As concerto soloist she performs with leading orchestras worldwide such as the BBC Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, with conductors including Ivan Fischer, Antonello Manacorda, John Storgards, Juraj Valcuha and Stephane Denève. Also in demand as a director-soloist, she works with orchestras like Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Potsdam Kammerakademie, Lapland Chamber Orchestra,Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and ORCAM Madrid.

Liza’s creativity as an artistic director, curator and collaborator has taken flight in a large dynamic range of international projects. Through her love for dance, she collaborated in creating a performance around her solo work with modern dance company LeineRoebana, which toured extensively, as well as being a frequent collaborator of the National Ballet of the Netherlands. At the young age of 27 she was named artistic director of the Delft Chamber Music Festival, and during her tenure of 14 years expanded the festival into a multi-arts annual event taking a unique place in the Dutch cultural landscape. Liza commissioned numerous new works, of which many have found a lasting place in the repertoire. Each year she also commissioned and co-created a musical theatre performance based around the festival theme. Most importantly, the festival built a broad circle of like-minded musicians and friends with whom she continues to perform on major concert stages throughout the world.

Growing up in family of professional musicians was deeply formative to the musician she became. Her first musical memories are of playing with her toys under the piano while her parents, immigrants from Russia to the Netherlands, worked on Beethoven cello sonatas, and of dancing to her sister practicing Chopin etudes. The choice of the violin might not have been all-encompassing for Liza until her early teens, but what was always very clear was her great love for music. Through the careful guidance of her teachers Alla Kim and Herman Krebbers, musical enthusiasm and instrumental expression united, resulting in her winning the Dutch National Violin competition at age 17. 

After spending some years at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she met many musicians who became lifelong collaborators, her most important teacher was David Takeno in London. Many musical mentors along the way were invaluable guides as she shaped her creative identity.  Philippe Hirschhorn, a close family friend for whom she played regularly from an early age until his untimely death, gave her essential understanding and knowledge about what can be searched for in music. Her early encounters with Nobuko Imai gave direction and a wider spectrum of possibility. Walter van Hauwe, Frans Bruggen and Anner Bylsma opened wider into the rich world of baroque music and interpretation, and Elisabeth Leonskaja shone as an example as a selfless performer. 

Next to her busy life on stage Liza is now herself much in demand as a teacher.

In 2006 Liza received the Dutch Music Prize, the highest governmental award for young musicians. In 2021 she was made Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, a royal acknowledgment for her contribution to the Dutch cultural scene.