Michael Tsalka – fortepiano and early keyboards

MICHAEL TSALKA: Concert pianist and early keyboard performer


Concert pianist and early keyboard performer Michael Tsalka 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 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.


Michael Tsalka maintains a busy concert schedule. Recent engagements include performances at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Forbidden City Hall in Beijing, Bellas Artes Theater in Mexico City, 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, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He has presented interviews and live performances for radio and television 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.

Dr. Tsalka has performed as soloist with many 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), ThoroughBass (Sydney), and the NCMA Chamber Music Orchestra (NZ).


Dr. Tsalka has recorded 23 CDs for labels such as Naxos, Grand Piano, Sheva Collection (London), 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 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. Recently, Naxos asked mandolin virtuoso Alon Sariel and Michael Tsalka to record all of Beethoven’s works for mandolin and fortepiano for their 2020 CD release with all of Beethoven’s works.

Tsalka often perform chamber music: recent ensembles he has established include the Mediterranean Trio, a duo with mandolinist Alon Sariel, the Filmharmonia Duo and Musica Curiosa Duo together with organist and glass armonica virtuoso 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).  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.).

Teachings & Master Classes

He has presented hundred and thirty 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). He is also a visiting professor at Auckland University, the Nelson Center for Musical Arts in New Zealand, and Celaya Conservatory of Music in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Competition Jury member

He often judges in competitions, including the International Duo Competition (Stockholm, Sweden), Angélica Morales Piano Competition (Mexico City, Mexico), the First International Clavichord Competition (Kuopio, Finland), and the Second International Square Piano Competition (Amsterdam, Netherlands).

Board functions

Dr. Tsalka was on the board of directors of ECMTA (European Chamber Music Teachers Association) and HKSNA (Historical Keyboard Society of North America from 2006-2015, 2016-2019. From 2012 to 2015, he was the co-artistic director of the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival in Kuopio, Finland. In 2016-2018 he was the artistic director of the Across Bridges International Piano Festival, in Valencia and in Shanghai. From 2014 to the present he is the artistic director of the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in the Netherlands.

For more information, please visit: www.michaeltsalka.com


Selected Reviews:

“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 Double CD presenting the Seven Viktor Ullmann 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)