Gil Shaham
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Gil Shaham

Gil Shaham Israeli musician

Israeli musician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Israeli musician
Countries United States of America
Occupations Musician
Type Music
Gender male
Birth 19 February 1971 (Urbana)
Education Juilliard School, Columbia University, Horace Mann School
The details

Gil Shaham (born February 19, 1971) is an American violinist of Jewish descent.


Gil Shaham (Hebrew: גיל שחם) was born in Urbana, Illinois, while his parents, Israeli scientists, were on an academic fellowship at the University of Illinois. His father Jacob was an astrophysicist, and his mother, Meira Diskin, was a cytogeneticist. His sister is the pianist Orli Shaham. He is a graduate of the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York. The family returned to Jerusalem when Gil was two. At the age of seven, Shaham began taking violin lessons from Samuel Bernstein at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and received annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

In 1981, Gil Shaham made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israelic Philharmonic while he was studying with Haim Taub. Later that year, he attended Aspen Music School in Colorado, studying with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellermann. Later in 1982 after taking first place in Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at Juilliard. He has also studied at Columbia University.

Shaham is married to the Australian-born violinist Adele Anthony. They have three children, Elijah, Ella Mei and Simon. Gil Shaham currently lives in New York City with his family.

Music career

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. In addition, both he and his younger sister, the pianist Orli Shaham, attended Columbia University.

Shaham's career improved, in 1989, 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, then performed the Bruch and Sibelius violin concertos.

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, Los Angeles Philharmonic, 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.


  • Mendelssohn, Bruch: Violin Concertos (1990)
  • Schumann: Works for Violin and Piano (1990)
  • Franck/Saint-Saëns: Violin Sonatas (with Gerhard Oppitz) (1991)
  • Paganini: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1992)
  • Wieniawski: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (1992)
  • Sibelius/Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos (1993)
  • Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto; Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto and Much Ado about Nothing Suite (with Andre Previn conducting the London Symphony Orchestra) (1994)
  • Paganini for Two (with Göran Söllscher) (1994)
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) (1995)
  • Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (1996)
  • Violin Romances (with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) (1996)
  • Dvořák for Two (with Orli Shaham) (1997)
  • The Fiddler of the Opera (with Jascha Heifetz) (1997)
  • Israel Philharmonic 60th Anniversary Gala Concert (1997)
  • Berlin Gala: A Salute to Carmen (with Anne Sofie von Otter and Roberto Alagna) (1998)
  • American Scenes (Works of Copland, Previn, Barber, Gershwin) (1998)
  • Glazunov/Kabalevsky: Meeting in Moscow (1998)
  • Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2 (1999)
  • Pärt: Tabula Rasa (1999)
  • Devil's Dance (2000)
  • Two Worlds (with Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin) (2000)
  • John Williams: Treesong (2001)
  • Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time (with Myung-Whun Chung) (2001)
  • Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major (with Jian Wang) (2002)
  • Schubert for Two (with Göran Söllscher) (2003)
  • The Fauré Album (2003)
  • Prokofiev: Works for Violin and Piano (with Orli Shaham) (2004)
  • Beethoven: Triple Concerto/Septet (with David Zinman and Yefim Bronfman) (2006)
  • The Butterfly Lovers' Concerto for Violin/Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (2007)
  • Mozart in Paris (with Orli Shaham) (2008)
  • Elgar: Violin Concerto (2008)
  • Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A Minor (with Yefim Bronfman and Truls Mørk) (2008)
  • Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works (with Adele Anthony) (2009)
  • Haydn and Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos (with the Sejong Soloists) (2010)
  • Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies (with Orli Shaham) (2013)
  • 1930s Violin Concertos (2014)
  • Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (2015)


  • Avery Fisher Career Grant (1990)
  • Premio Internazionale of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (1992)
  • Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance: André Previn & Gil Shaham for American Scenes (Works of Copland, Previn, Barber, Gershwin) (1999)
  • Avery Fisher Award (2008) Presented by his dear friend Gustavo Dudamel at a Live from Lincoln Center private presentation of the music of Pablo de Sarasate in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.
  • Instrumentalist of the Year (2012)

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