Gil Shaham, Biography
Gil Shaham (Jewish American, born February 19, 1971) is a violinist. is one of the foremost violinists of our time with his flawless technique and his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit. Shaham was a Grammy Award-winner in 1999 and has extensive recordings with Deutsche Grammophon and other labels.
Childhood and Youth of Garrett
Gil Shaham was born in Urbana, Illinois, while his parents, Israeli scientists, were on an academic fellowship at the University of Illinois. The family returned to Jerusalem when Gil was two. In 1975, his sister, pianist Orli Shaham was born. At the age of seven, Gil Shaham began taking violin lessons from Samuel Bernstein at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.
In 1980, when Shaham was nine years old, he played for Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein and Henryk Szeryng. At age 10, Shaham debuted as soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, conducted by the violinist Alexander Schneider. Less than a year later Shaham performed with Israel's foremost orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, which was conducted by Zubin Mehta. At age 11, in 1982, Shaham won first prize in the Claremont Competition and was admitted to the Juilliard School in New York, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. Dorothy DeLay was the teacher of many other leading artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Sarah Chang. Gil Shaham is a graduate of the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York. In addition, both he and his younger sister, the pianist Orli Shaham, attended Columbia University.
Shaham's career took off in 1989, at age 18, when he was called upon to replace an ailing Itzhak Perlman for a series of concerts with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra. Taking time out from his studies at the Horace Mann School (where he was a senior), he flew to London at short notice, then performed the Bruch and Sibelius violin concertos, for which he garnered glowing reviews.
In 1990 Shaham received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 1992 he was awarded the Premio Internazionale of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena.
Shaham has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras, among them the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.
Shaham plays a Stradivarius violin from the "long pattern" period, the "Comtesse de Polignac" of 1699. It was offered to Shaham on loan, in 1989, by the Stradivarius Society of Chicago.
Shaham is married to the Australian-born violinist Adele Anthony. They have three children, Elijah, Ella Mei and Simon.