In his dual role as violinist-composer, Ittai Shapira is a rarity in the 21st century, but follows a long line of musicians who, in writing and performing their own works, have relished both forms of creativity.
Ittai Shapira regularly performs with prestigious artists across the globe. Engagements include performances with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic under Sir Neville Marriner, Cape Town Philharmonic, Czech National Symphony under Libor Pešek, Detroit Symphony under Yoel Levi, English Chamber Orchestra with Yuri Bashmet at the Barbican, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israeli Virtuosi at Alice Tully Hall hosted by Itzhak Perlman, The Knights, the Philharmonia, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Russian Philharmonic with Thomas Sanderling, and the Symphony Orchestras of Budapest, Harrisburg, Jerusalem, Omaha and Shanghai. Performances include a tour of Finland and Sweden with the Oulu Sinfonia, and a tour of Shapira’s own composition, Concierto Latino, with the Key West Symphony.
In his role as a composer, Ittai Shapira continues to write a variety of works, including a Double Violin Concerto entitled Magyar, a Violin and Cello Concerto, ‘Sephardic Journeys’, and a set of Solo Violin Caprices.
Ittai Shapira made a critically-acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 with the Orchestra of St Luke’s, performing the world premiere of the Violin Concerto written for him by compatriot Shulamit Ran. His recording of this concerto is featured in a compilation of Ms Ran’s works performed by Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 2006 Ittai Shapira reached an audience of 55 million playing on the Jerry Lewis Telethon, televised nationally in the US. In the same year, Shapira toured a concert piece written for him by Glen Roven, The Runaway Bunny, which he performed with Glenn Close, as well as recording the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Brooke Shields.
Ittai Shapira performs as recitalist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and China, at venues ranging from the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Louvre Auditorium to the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and also appears at international festivals, recent examples including those at Aspen, Banff, Ravinia and Schleswig-Holstein.
His discography (for labels including Champs Hill, EMI, Meridian Records, Sanctuary Classics, Quartz and Sony/BMG) represents his interest in both standard and unusual repertoire: from Bruch to Berio. Shapira’s playing is also featured in the soundtrack for a film made about Daniel Pearl, The Journalist and the Jihadi. Shapira is the dedicatee of no fewer than fourteen concertos, the most recent of which is the Katrina Concerto by Theodore Wiprud. Ittai Shapira continues to collaborate with some of today’s most respected and communicative composers, enjoying particularly fruitful musical relationships with Avner Dorman and Dave Heath.
Ittai Shapira, who now lives in New York, grew up in Israel, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Ilona Feher. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay and Robert Mann. A recipient of the prestigious Clairmont Award, Ittai Shapira co-founded the Ilona Feher Foundation with esteemed colleague Hagai Shaham, dedicated to the nurturing and promotion of young Israeli violinists.