Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time, combining flawless technique with inimitable warmth and a generosity of spirit. He is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and he regularly gives recital and ensemble appearances on the great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.
In the 2011-12 season, Shaham continues his long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” which comprises performances at some of the most well-established concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras. In January 2012, he begins the year performing Barber’s Violin Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony. He tackles Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto in February with the New World Symphony and fills out the rest of the season giving performances of the Hartmann, Berg, and Stravinsky concertos with the orchestras of New York, London and Atlanta, respectively. In October, Shaham brings Brahms’s Violin Concerto to Carnegie Hall with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and later in the season he reprises the concerto with the orchestras of San Francisco, Boston and Delaware. This fall also sees Shaham exploring several of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin on a US recital tour.
Shaham returns to the studio this season with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham, for a new recording, Hebrew Melodies, due out in January 2012 on his own label (Canary Classics). The repertoire features an exploration of both traditional and modern Jewish music, including the world-premiere recording of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s new work “Niggunim,” a work praised by the New York Times for its “explosive energy.” This is not the first time Shaham has had the good fortune to enjoy musical collaborations with family members; previously he’s worked with wife Adele Anthony, sister Orli Shaham, and his brother-in-law, conductor David Robertson. On two occasions – first in 2007 and then again in 2009 – the violinist has succeeded in fulfilling his dream of bringing together family, friends, and colleagues for chamber music; both tours of Brahms programs culminated in a series of three concerts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Last season, Shaham launched the “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project with 34 live performances, including appearances with the Chicago Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra. In September 2010, he was a special guest artist for the Chamber Music Society’s season-opening concert at Lincoln Center along with his wife and fellow virtuoso Adele Anthony. Shaham appeared on PBS with Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for Carnegie Hall’s 120th anniversary concert in May 2011, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.
Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, including bestsellers that have appeared on record charts in the US and abroad. These recordings have earned prestigious awards, including multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone Editor’s Choice. His recent recordings are produced on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004. They comprise Haydn Violin Concertos and Mendelssohn’s Octet with Sejong Soloists; Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works with Adele Anthony, Akira Eguchi and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León; 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 Mork; The Prokofiev Album and Mozart in Paris, both with Orli Shaham; and The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith.
Gil Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, 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 debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellerman at Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at 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. Shaham lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their two children.