Pinchas Zukerman has remained a phenomenon in the world of music for four decades. His musical genius, prodigious technique and unwavering artistic standards are a marvel to audiences and critics. Devoted to the next generation of musicians, he has inspired younger artists with his magnetism and passion. His devotion to teaching has resulted in innovative programs in London, New York, China, Israel and Ottawa. The name Pinchas Zukerman is equally respected as violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue and chamber musician.
Pinchas Zukerman’s 2011-2012 season includes over 100 worldwide performances, bringing him to multiple destinations in North America, Europe and Asia. In his third season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, he leads the ensemble in concerts throughout Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom, as well as on an east coast tour of the United States and Canada. Additional orchestral engagements include the New York and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras and Chicago, San Francisco, Oregon and San Diego Symphonies. Guest appearances with international orchestras include the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Budapest Festival Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, OSESP Brazil, Miyazaki Festival Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony and Orchestra Giovani Luigi Cherubino. His chamber ensemble, the Zukerman ChamberPlayers, appears at the Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein and Tuscan Sun Music Festivals and tours to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, United States and Canada.
Over the last decade, Pinchas Zukerman has become as equally regarded a conductor as he is an instrumentalist, leading many of the world’s top ensembles in a wide variety of the orchestral repertoire’s most demanding works. Currently in his 13th season as Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Mr. Zukerman is recognized for heightening the ensemble’s caliber and reputation, inaugurating the prestigious National Arts Centre Summer Music Institute, and expanding the ensemble’s repertoire to include large-scale works. Performances under Maestro Zukerman have included the Brahms, Mozart, Verdi and Fauré Requiems, Opera Lyra’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and major works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Bruckner, Dvorák, Elgar, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Schumann.
Mr. Zukerman is deeply committed to enriching the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s cultural involvement within the region, and since his appointment has taken an interest in virtually every aspect of Ottawa’s artistic community. He has made five recordings with the Orchestra, introduced a new Acoustic Control System to the NAC’s Southam Hall and been involved in a number of national radio and television broadcasts. Several educational initiatives have been established under his leadership, including the NAC Institute for Orchestral Studies and the Summer Music Institute which brings students from around the globe to Ottawa to participate in the Young Artists, Conductors and Composers Programmes. The Zukerman Musical Instrument Fund works to acquire donated and new instruments for orchestral musicians. He has also championed contemporary Canadian composers, conducting works by Linda Bouchard, Jacques Hétu, Alain Perron, Peter Paul Koprowski, Gary Kulesha, Denis Bouliane, Alexina Louie, Denis Gougeon and Malcolm Forsyth. Since Zukerman’s arrival in 1998, the National Arts Centre Orchestra has renewed its commitment to regular touring both nationally and internationally. He led enormously successful Canadian tours in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005, as well as critically acclaimed tours to the Middle East and Europe in 2000 and the United States and Mexico in 2003, all highlighted by hundreds of unprecedented outreach activities with an innovative internet component.
In January 2008, Maestro Zukerman led the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on a North American tour consisting of 22 concerts in 11 states, after which the RPO musicians unanimously voted to appoint him Principal Guest Conductor beginning in the 2009-2010 season. In this capacity, Zukerman works extensively with the RPO throughout the UK and on several international touring projects each season. In addition to this season’s tours of China, Italy, England, Israel and Switzerland, he has also led the RPO in concerts in Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and the UK. He will also employ his expertise and passion for outreach and play an active role in developing the RPO’s education department and community activities.
In addition to the National Arts Centre and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Maestro Zukerman maintains long-term conducting relationships with such esteemed ensembles as the Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. In North America he has led the New York and Rochester Philharmonics, the National Symphony, The Florida Orchestra, and the symphonies of Atlanta, Dallas, Toronto, Milwaukee, Saint Louis, Madison, Oregon, Utah and Colorado, among others. Internationally he has conducted the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Radio France and Nagoya Philharmonics, and the Barcelona, São Paulo and Singapore Symphony Orchestras.
A devoted and innovative pedagogue, Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music. To maintain close relationships with his students while fulfilling the travel demands of his concert engagements, Mr. Zukerman has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. Through the use of the school’s videoconferencing system, his students are able to receive regular string instruction.
A frequent chamber music performer, Pinchas Zukerman has appeared regularly with such friends and colleagues as Daniel Barenboim, Vladmir Ashkenazy, Itzhak Perlman, the Orion and Tokyo String Quartets, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Ralph Kirshbaum, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Marc Neikrug and the late Jacqueline du Pré. In 2003 he formed the Zukerman ChamberPlayers, an ensemble which has performed for the past eight seasons at such prestigious overseas venues as the BBC Proms, Concertgebouw, Tivoli, Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier, Harrogate and Tuscan Sun Music Festivals. In North America, the group has garnered critical acclaim for concerts at the Ravinia, Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals and at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, the Kennedy Center, Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Parry Sound and Domaine Forget in Canada. The Zukerman ChamberPlayers has toured throughout Europe, Asia, South America and New Zealand. The group has recorded Schubert’s Trout Quintet and Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat with pianist Yefim Bronfman on Sony/BMG and the quintets of Mozart, Brahms and Dvorak for Altara. The Zukerman ChamberPlayers’ debut recording for CBC Records, Mozart-Zukerman, was nominated for a 2004 Juno Award in the “Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble” category.
Pinchas Zukerman’s extensive discography contains over 100 titles, and has earned him 21 Grammy nominations and two awards: “Best Chamber Music Performance” in 1980 and “Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra” in 1981. Mr. Zukerman’s first recording as Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra was a 1999 CBC Records release of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in which he was featured as conductor and violinist. An earlier recording of three Haydn works on BMG Classics, which he made as guest conductor of the Orchestra in 1993, was re-released in 1998 in honor of his appointment. In 2000, CBC Records released Mr. Zukerman’s first-ever recording of Beethoven Symphonies – Nos. 1 and 2 – along with the Romance No. 2 in F Major, followed by discs of Schubert works in 2002 and Mozart in 2003. Prior releases on BMG Classics/RCA Victor Red Seal include the complete violin/piano and viola/piano repertoire of Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann with pianist Marc Neikrug. Earlier recordings are also available on the Angel, CBS, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, London and Philips labels.
Pinchas Zukerman has been featured in numerous television specials and national talk shows. He has been a performer and presenter at both the Kennedy Center Honors and the Grammy Awards ceremony and appeared with the Chicago Symphony on the PBS special Mozart by the Masters. In 2004, the CBC recorded a ten-segment series entitled “The Concerto According to Pinchas” which continues to be broadcast and re-broadcast around the world. A frequent performer on Live from Lincoln Center, Mr. Zukerman has collaborated with the English filmmaker Christopher Nupen on several projects including the Here to Make Music series, a Brahms series, a Schubert series and a documentary on Nathan Milstein. He appeared on PBS’s Charlie Rose Show and on CBC Television’s nationwide broadcast celebrating the opening concerts of the National Arts Centre’s 30th-anniversary season. Crossing Bridges, a documentary by Niv Fichman, followed his tour to the Middle East with the Orchestra, and was awarded the prestigious Gold World Medal at the 2001 New York Festival. Mr. Zukerman’s violin playing can be heard on the film soundtracks for Prince of Tides and Critical Care.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1948, Pinchas Zukerman studied music with his father, first on the recorder and clarinet, and later on the violin. He soon began lessons with Ilona Feher and came to America in 1962 with the support of Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals and the America-Israel and Helena Rubinstein Foundations. He began his studies at The Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and, in 1967, was named first-prize winner of the 25th Leventritt Competition. He holds an honorary doctorate from Brown University and an Achievement Award from the International Center in New York. He was presented with the King Solomon Award by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and, in 1983, President Reagan awarded him the Medal of Arts for his leadership in the musical world. In 2002 he became the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence at the National Arts Awards Gala in New York City, and in May 2006 was appointed as the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative’s first instrumentalist mentor in the music discipline. Pinchas Zukerman is married to cellist Amanda Forsyth and is father to two daughters, Arianna and Natalia.