Gil Shaham was born in 1971 in Illinois and grew up in Israel, where he studied at the Rubin Academy of Music. He made his debut at age ten with the Jerusalem Symphony and Israel Philharmonic, and he studied with Dorothy DeLay, first at Aspen and later at Juilliard. Mr. Shaham made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1990 as a Shenson Young Artist and has returned often, most recently in June 2014. He joins Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra on this month’s National Tour.
Mr. Shaham headlined this season’s Parisian-themed opening-night gala with the Seattle Symphony and performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with The Knights at the Caramoor Fall Festival. This work is one of the works showcased in his long-term exploration of violin concertos of the 1930s. Now entering its sixth season, this project takes him to the Philadelphia Orchestra for Berg’s Concerto, and to both the Berlin Radio Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra for Britten. In addition to giving the world premiere performances of a new concerto by David Bruce with the San Diego Symphony, the violinist’s upcoming orchestral highlights also include Mendelssohn in Tokyo, Canada, and Luxembourg, and two Bach concertos with the Dallas Symphony. In recital, he presents Bach’s complete solo sonatas and partitas at Chicago’s Symphony Center, Los Angeles’s Disney Hall, and other venues in a special multimedia collaboration with photographer and video artist David Michalek.
Mr. Shaham has recorded more than two dozen CDs, earning multiple Grammy awards, a Grand Prix du Disque, a Diapason d’Or, and a Gramophone Editor’s Choice award. His recent recordings are issued on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004. Mr. Shaham and his sister, pianist Orli Shaham, recently released Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, which features the world-premiere recording of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s Nigunim. Other albums on the Canary Classics label feature Mr. Shaham performing works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and Fauré, among others. Upcoming titles include Bach’s complete works for solo violin and several installments in the violin concertos of the 1930s project.
Mr. Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990 and won the Avery Fisher Prize in 2008. He was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America in 2012. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius violin, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.