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Gil Shaham (Violin soloist)

Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of the present day. His flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit makes him sought-after throughout the world for concert appearances with leading orchestras and conductors and for recitals and ensemble appearances at the great concert venues and prestigious festivals.

In the 2010-11 season, Shaham continued his long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” which comprises both performances and recordings. In concert, he performs the Walton concerto with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony; Prokofiev’s Second with the National Symphony in Washington and the Orchestre de Paris, Bartók’s Second with Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in St Petersburg and the Sinfonieorchester Berlin as well as the Barber and Hartmann concerti with the Toronto and Chicago Symphonies. The first recording of the “Concertos of the 1930s” project will be released this season on Shaham’s own label, Canary Classics. The CD features Stravinsky’s concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Barber concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Berg’s concerto with the Dresdner Staatskapelle – all with David Robertson conducting. In other performances, Shaham has joined Emmanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in a historic concert celebrating the 120th anniversary of Carnegie Hall; he has performed Mozart’s Fifth “Turkish” Concerto with Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, and he performs the Mendelssohn with Jansons and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Forthcoming highlights also include the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s season-opening concert, all-Bach solo recitals in St Petersburg, Genoa and Baltimore and a violin and piano repertoire with his sister Orli Shaham, at New York’s 92nd Street Y, featuring the world premiere of a new work by Avner Dorman.

Last season Shaham launched the “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project with thirty-five performances including appearances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra. His solo Bach recitals included performances in Waterloo, London, Istanbul, Milan, Prague and Cologne and he performed Mozart, Prokofiev and Stravinsky on a West Coast tour with the St Louis Symphony. Works by Haydn and Mendelssohn that he performed on tour in Korea, China, and Taiwan with the New York-based ensemble Sejong were captured on film; this and his other most recent CD, an album of Sarasate’s Virtuoso Violin Works that also features his wife, the violinist Adele Anthony and pianist Akira Eguchi, were issued on Canary Classics in the 2009-2010 season.

Shaman has had the good fortune to collaborate musically with family members including Adele Anthony, Orli Shaham and his brother-in-law, the conductor David Robertson. On two occasions (first in 2007 and then again in 2009) the violinist succeeded in fulfilling his dream of bringing together family, friends, and colleagues for chamber music; both tours of Brahms programmes culminated in a series of three concerts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.

Shaham has more than two dozen concerti and solo CDs to his name including bestsellers that have appeared on record charts in the USA and abroad. These recordings have earned prestigious awards, including multiple Grammies, a Grand Prix du Disque, a Diapason d’Or and a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”. His most recent recordings have been released on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004; they comprise Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman, The Butterfly Lovers and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Singapore Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mørk, The Prokofiev Album and The Mozart Album in Paris (both with Orli Shaham) and The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith.

Gil Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana in Illinois in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of seven, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem he made his debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellerman in Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize at Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at the Juilliard where he worked with DeLay and Hyo Kang. He also studied at Columbia University.

Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990 and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Award. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius.
He lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their two children.

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