American cellist Raphael Bell has a varied career as principal cellist, chamber musician, teacher, and festival creator. He is principal of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Belgium, and co-founder and co-Artistic Director of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival in his hometown in Virginia, where he enjoys programming concerts, as well as discovering contemporary repertoire and introducing it to both musicians and audiences. As a chamber musician he has performed at Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Salle Gaveau, Berlin Philharmonie, and Suntory Hall, and he was part of the IMS Prussia Cove tour with Pekka Kuusisto that won the 2007 Chamber Music Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London. He has collaborated with musicians such as Steven Isserlis, Martha Argerich, Maxim Vengerov, James Ehnes, and Ivry Gitlis.
Last year he performed Brahms’ Double Concerto with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Luft Ensemble, and looks forward to Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations next season with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. As a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he worked regularly under conductors Daniel Harding and Claudio Abbado, and played in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra’s celebrated Mahler Symphony Cycle. He has worked with John Elliot Gardiner’s Orchestra Revolutionaire et Romantique and English Baroque Soloists, as well as with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Oxalys, and Japan's Nagaokakyo Ensemble. He studied at the Juilliard School with Harvey Shapiro, and other important teachers include Steven Isserlis, Mario Brunello, and Ferenc Rados.