Born in Tashkent in the former Soviet Union, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the US, he studied at the Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkušný, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He became an American citizen in 1989. In 1991 he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking Mr. Bronfman's first public performances there since his emigration to Israel. That same year he was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize.
In celebration of the 80th birthday of conductor Yuri Temirkanov, Mr. Bronfman's 2018-19 season began with a European tour with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic. Other engagements include a Scandinavian tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, performances with the Vienna Philharmonic, and concerts in the US with the orchestras of Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, and Dallas. He performs in recital in New York (Carnegie Hall), Berkeley, Stanford, Aspen, Madrid, Geneva, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Berlin, Naples, Rome, and on tour with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená.
Mr. Bronfman has been nominated for six Grammy awards; winning in 1997 for his recording of the three Bartók piano concertos with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Among his most recent releases are a Grammy-nominated recording of Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert on the Da Capo label; Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony; a recital disc, Perspectives, complementing Mr. Bronfman’s designation as a Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” artist for the 2007-08 season; and recordings of the complete Beethoven piano concertos and the Triple Concerto together with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under David Zinman.
Several of Mr. Bronfman’s performances are now available on DVD, including Liszt's Second Piano Concerto with Franz Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon), Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from the 2011 Lucerne Festival, Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle (EuroArts), and both Brahms piano concertos with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University in 2010, Mr. Bronfman was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music in 2015. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1981.