Hailed by the major Boston and New York press as "imaginative and eloquent," praised for his "dazzling dispatch of every bravura challenge" and his "melodic phrasing of melting tenderness," cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer maintains an active and diverse career as chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral section leader. Imprimis, Mr. Popper-Keizer has appeared nationwide in various capacities, including performances in the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts, John Harbison's Token Creek Festival in Wisconsin, and the Monadnock Chamber Music Festival in New Hampshire. Locally, Mr. Popper-Keizer has enjoyed guest affiliations with the Fromm Players at Harvard, Winsor Chamber Players, Boston Musica Viva, and the Walden Chamber Players, as well as long-term relationships with Boston's Emmanuel Music and Firebird New Music Ensemble. Mr. Popper-Keizer has concertized with many of New England's most esteemed chamber musicians, including members of the Borromeo and Muir String Quartets, the Museum of Fine Arts Trio, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; as well as recent appearances with the Boston Trio, violinist Curtis Macomber, and flautist Eugenia Zuckerman.

Mr. Popper-Keizer has toured extensively with the CORE Ensemble, a nationally acclaimed percussion trio with over twenty commissions to its name, through which he was invited to appear as both soloist and chamber musician in the contemporary music festival "Contrasts" in Lviv, Ukraine. In 1998 and 1999, Mr. Popper-Keizer was invited to the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he acted as Yo-Yo Ma's understudy for Richard Strauss' Don Quixote under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. Mr. Popper-Keizer has been featured as a soloist throughout the United States, including recitals in New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall; the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; and as a guest artist on the faculty concert series at Grinnell College. Recent engagements include the Saint-Saëns Concerto in A minor, with the Boston Philharmonic; the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Indian Hill Symphony; and the Dvorak Concerto, with the University of Santa Cruz Orchestra. Mr. Popper-Keizer is the principal cellist of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and co-principal of the New Hampshire Symphony, and has made principal appearances with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Monadnock Festival Orchestra, among others. Labels for which he has recorded include Albany, Arsis, Helicon, Musical Heritage Society, Intrada, and Zimbel.


Moonshine Room at Club Café | April 30, 2012
Club Oberon in Harvard Square | June 7, 2010
Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University | September 27, 2009
Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University | September 25, 2009
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | November 14, 2008
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | February 22, 2008
Moonshine Room at Club Café | May 15, 2007
Moonshine Room at Club Café | April 3, 2007
Moonshine Room at Club Café | April 4, 2006

News and Press

[CD Review] Classical Lost and Found reviews Paul Moravec: Northern Lights Electric and Thomas Oboe Lee: Six Concertos

With these two recent releases from BMOP/sound we get an attractive bouquet of concertos from a couple of America's most highly regarded contemporary composers, Thomas Oboe Lee (b. 1945) and Paul Moravec (b. 1957, see below). Lee was born in China but left there with his family in 1949, spending ten years in Hong Kong and another six in Brazil. He then emigrated to the United States in 1966, where he pursued extensive musical studies, graduating from Harvard in 1981. He's received a number of outstanding awards, and now teaches at Boston College.

Classical Lost and Found Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP channels India in season-ending show

"Sangita: The Spirit of India’’ was the title of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s season-ending concert Friday night at Jordan Hall. And the program was as dense as the hot, humid, subcontinent-like weather outside, with world premieres by three New England-based composers and a North American premiere by early-20th-century English composer John Foulds.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Ueno's memorable Talus, Boykan's engaging concerto, Erickson's eclectic Fantasty, and Schwartz's Chamber Concerto

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project performed new works in Jordan Hall on Friday evening by Martin Boykan, Robert Erickson, Elliott Schwartz, and Ken Ueno. The concert closed with Shoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, a very liberal arrangement of a Handel Concerto.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Press Release] BMOP premieres composer retrospectives series with a homage concert to composer Robert Erickson

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) presents a free, evening length concert in honor of American composer Robert Erickson (1917-1997). As part of BMOP's new Composer Retrospectives series, this special event features a cornucopia of Erickson's works ranging from his piece Auroras (1994) for full symphony orchestra to the lesser known Night Music (1978). Other program highlights include: Fantasy for cello and orchestra (1954) with Rafael Popper-Keizer; and East of the Beach (1980).

Full review
[Concert Review] Grandeur and intimacy

...And in the Moonshine Room at the Club Café, one of the off-the-formal-concert-hall-beats of Gil Rose’s Boston Modern Orchestra Project, we got a rich program, with extraordinary soloists. A percussion tour de force by Samuel Solomon in John Cage’s paradoxically but accurately titled Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum (Solomon using not only his hands and drum sticks, but also a pencil, a gavel, pebbles, space change, and his breath). Rafael Popper-Keizer’s powerful rendition of the last-movement Ciaccona from Benjamin Britten’s Second Cello Suite.

The Boston Phoenix Full review