Гил Шахам

February 19, 1971 - Urbana (United States)

© Jane Noris

Born in 1971 in Urbana, Gil Shaham is one of the greatest violinists of his generation. At the age of two, his family settled in Israel where Gil Shaham learned the violin in Jerusalem with Samuel Bernstein. He made his debut as a child conducted by Zubin Mehta and stunned the Israeli public with the confidence conveyed by an already mature art. His first teachers put him in good stead for the Julliard School in New York where for nine years Dorothy DeLay taught him to ally a fabulously masterful technique with demanding musical art in every repertoire he turned to. He completed his chamber music tuition with Felix Galimir and received advice from Isaac Stern who passed on his musical knowledge, notably in the interpretation of the Brahms Violin Concerto.

Thanks to his parents care, Gil Shaham was shielded from the childhood of a young prodigy. He was propelled onto the international stage as he just turned eighteen to stand in for Itzhak Perlman and play the Bruch and Sibelius concertos. From that moment on, Gil Shaham’s international career took off. He sometimes gives up to two hundred concerts in a season playing every repertoire although he does admit to Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Brahms giving him particular pleasure.

Gil Shaham likes to build up long-lasting and fruitful working partnerships with certain pianists like Akira Iguchill or his sister, Orli Shaham with whom he has given performances more recently. Gil Shaham is keen to renew his repertoire by interpreting works sometimes less well known, (Dvorak’s Sonatine, Mendelssohn’s Concerto for violin and piano). As concerns contemporary music, he is guided neither by trends nor by influential groups. He follows his intuition and plays Pärt, Messiaen and Dutilleux equally successfully. He has progressively been able to impose his recording choices on various record companies and promote rarer works like Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.


  • Henryk Wieniawski, Violin Concerto Nos.1 and 2, DG, 1991.
  • Olivier Messiaen, Quartet for the End or Time, DG, 2001.
  • Béla Bartok, Concertos, Rhapsodies, DG, 1999.